Iraq’s Parliament Just Passed a Law Criminalizing Ties with Israel

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.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham Accords, Iraq, Israel-Arab relations

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy