Why Iraqis Reject the Palestinian Cause

Sept. 30 2021

In northern Iraq last week, some 300 tribal leaders, politicians, and other notables—among them both Sunnis and Shiites—gathered to call for peace with Israel. The government swiftly responded by moving to arrest all the attendees, while Iran-backed militias threatened them with violence. Hussain Abdul-Hussain sets the event against the backdrop of Saddam Hussein’s longstanding support for Palestinian terrorism, and Palestinian leaders’ support for him:

When Iraqis think of Islam, they think of their capital Baghdad, the Jewel of the Abbasid Caliphate, which was the apex of Muslim civilization when Muslims were leading the world in knowledge, science, literature, and economics. When Iraqis think of Islam, or Arab nationalism, they rarely think of Jerusalem, and hence, Palestine rarely meant much to their Muslim or Arab identity.

When America launched Operation Desert Storm to eject Saddam’s troops from Kuwait, the Iraqi dictator calculated that he could line up the Arabs behind him by firing scud missiles at Israel. . . . The Arabs—including radicals like Syria’s Hafez al-Assad and Libya’s Moammar Ghadaffi—never took Saddam’s side. Only Palestinians took to the streets and cheered for Saddam, shouting “Oh Saddam our love, hit Tel Aviv.” (It rhymes in Arabic).

After the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the UN imposed an embargo on Iraq, which emptied Saddam’s coffers. Saddam still paid enormous sums to [the families of Palestinians “martyrs”] while Iraqis were suffering a famine. Inside Iraq, Palestinians and their families were Saddam’s most notorious [domestic] intelligence operatives, and enjoyed Saddam’s generosity while Iraqis lived in poverty. When America toppled Saddam, Iraqis brought down Saddam’s statues and ejected his Palestinians.

But for Iran and its proxies—which exercise enormous influence in Baghdad—the anti-Israel cause is of paramount importance. It is they, according to Abdul-Hussain, who are pushing to punish those calling for peace with Israel.

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Read more at House of Wisdom

More about: Iran, Iraq, Palestinians, Saddam Hussein

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank