Last week, Iraq’s parliament passed a law titled “Criminalizing Normalization and Establishment of Relations with the Zionist Entity,” which is set to take effect within the next two weeks. It significantly expands upon a similar law passed in 1969, which made “normalizing ties with Israel” punishable by death. As the editors of the Jerusalem Post note, the move runs counter both to the growing trend among Middle Eastern countries to improve relations with the Jewish state, and to the wishes of many Iraqi leaders.
Last September, some 300 courageous Iraqi leaders, including prominent Sunni and Shiite figures, met at a conference organized by the Center for Peace Communications, a New York-based think tank. It took place in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, and called for the normalization of ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords.
Although many of these leaders faced retribution, their act was a sign that there are rational members of the Iraqi population and leadership who want to move forward and create a better world.
The anti-normalization law was proposed by the populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose party, which has a majority in the Iraqi assembly, opposes ties with both Israel and the United States. It appears to be a message directed mainly toward Iran and Sadr’s Shiite home base.