Israelis Support Iraqi Youth

by Heather Robinson

In a far-ranging phone interview last week, retired three-term Iraqi Parliamentarian Mithal al Alusi spoke to me about massive popular uprisings in Iraq, Iran’s interference in his country’s government, and Israel’s support for Iraqi youth who he believes are rising up at least in part to protest Iran’s regime.

Alusi, who has told me for years that Iran holds Iraq in a stranglehold, from bribing Iraqi politicians to arming terrorist militias, said that the street demonstrations taking place now in Iraq reflect a popular pushback against Iran’s domination of his country.

“The Iraqi young people are pushing back,” Alusi told me. “Fifteen to 25 years old, they have started demonstrations asking for rights, for jobs, for service, and the … government [has] killed people—this is the Iranian way. [This is] how they deal, at the beginning of demonstrations—they act very hard, kill people–so now they do it in Iraq.”

Iraq’s government is reporting that about 300 protestors have been killed since demonstrations started in early October and 15,000 have been wounded, but “in reality between 400 and 500 people have been killed and more than 15,000 [have been] wounded,” Alusi says. 

“In Iraq, day and night in the streets – boys, girls, old women, families – they come out each day, and they send the army each day, they’re being killed each day.”

He added, “I’m so proud of these people—Iraqis facing Iranian militias and Iranian revolutionary guards, facing terrorists.” 

Alusi, a Sunni Muslim who attained his seat in Iraq’s Parliament as an independent – a difficult feat in a system that favors Islamist parties–resigned from politics after serving three terms because he believes the Iraqi government has been corrupted and largely taken over by what he terms Iran’s “fascist regime.” At present, he says, with demonstrations arising October first and spreading from Iraq throughout the region, the Mideast is experiencing an upheaval analogous to the French Revolution.

Many of those driving the uprisings, he says, are Shiite Muslims rising up to protest Iran’s use of Shiite Islam to control others, including to take over Iraq’s government, fund terror groups, and conduct terrorist attacks. Fear and anger at the “fascist Iranian regime” are driving people throughout the region “who want to be normal” to oppose Iran, he says. He blames primarily the Iranian regime for deaths of the protestors because he believes Iraq’s government takes its marching orders from Iran, and that is why he quit the Iraqi government, he says.

“We are talking about demonstrations moving throughout the region,” he told me. “Iraq and Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, all the region is afraid [of Iran].

“[It’s] like the French Revolution,” he said. “The number one reason [for the demonstrations] is [to be] against Iran’s regime and terrorist groups.” Alusi says that Jews of Iraqi ancestry, whom he called “Iraqi Israelis” have issued statements in solidarity with the demonstrators in Iraq, and Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz has spoken in support of the Iraqi demonstrators. The Israeli statement was warmly received by Iraqi demonstrators, especially on social media, Alusi and other sources say.

“It’s an important point: demonstrators in Iraq, they are anti-Iran, anti-Islamic parties. They are not against Israel, and they are not against peace with Israel,” Alusi says.

More to come regarding Alusi’s take on President Trump’s Mideast policies and vis a vis the Kurds and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

This entry was written by and posted on November 27, 2019 at 3:16 pm and filed under Features.