Alusi says, U.S.: “Don’t be the power to help Tariq al-Hashemi; speaks of precarious times for middle east Christians


In the aftermath of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq and with upheaval in middle eastern nations from Egypt to Syria, Christians are more vulnerable than they have been for decades.

This Christmas Day I spoke with my source in Iraq, former Iraqi Parliamentarian Mithal al-Alusi, who described the situation as U.S. troops leave that country as “chaos,” and said he fears a civil war there. He also said that Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraq’s vice president, who is charged with running a hit squad that killed government officials, “helped the killer of my sons to escape” from Iraq in 2005.

Alusi was elected to the Iraqi Parliament in 2005 on a platform that promoted normalized relations between Iraq and Israel. In the aftermath of the murder of his two sons, allegedly as “payback” for Alusi’s visit to Israel, Alusi’s election was viewed by many observers as a victory for liberal, modernist forces in a post-Saddam Iraq.

Although Alusi says he questions the timing of the Iraqi government’s decision to go after al-Hashemi this week, and implied he believes it could be an effort on the part of some Shia extremists to push the country into a civil war, he also advised the U.S. government to deny Al-Hashemi a haven.

Alusi told me today, Tariq al-Hashemi “helped the killer of my sons to escape” from Iraq.

His main concern now, he explained, is for the safety of millions of ordinary Iraqis who he believes are in greater danger now that U.S. troops have withdrawn. For that reason, Alusi’s prime message to Washington D.C. now is to signal that U.S. troops will return if extremists funded by Iran and Saudi Arabia attempt to plunge Iraq into civil war. As long as U.S. troops were there, he says, extremist forces, although damaging, were not free to completely overrun the country.

If the president signaled willingness to return troops to Iraq to prevent a complete takeover of the country by extremist forces, it would go a long way toward maintaining stability, Alusi believes.

“The American government can’t just say, ‘We pulled out,'” he said. Rather, he believes it important “to show the Iraqis, ‘We would send troops back to prvent civil war. We are talking about a different situation. Just enough [troops] to keep the peace.”

This signal should take priority over everything, including the pursuit of justice for those Alusi believes were complicit in the murder of his children.

“I have lost my only two sons,” he said. “I can’t bring them back. We have to keep other human beings safe.”

Those others include Iraq’s Christians, who Alusi says are in a more precarious position than ever.”

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