Iraq issues arrest warrants over ties with Israel forum

1. Iraq Normalization
(Photo: Jordan News)
BAGHDAD — Iraq’s judiciary on Sunday announced it has issued arrest warrants for three people including an ex-MP over a meeting that called for a normalization of ties with Israel.اضافة اعلان

More than 300 Iraqis, including tribal leaders, attended Saturday’s forum in autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan organized by a US think-tank.

The judiciary, in a statement on its website, said it would take legal action against the others once they had been identified.

It named the three wanted for their role in calling for normal ties with Israel as tribal chief Wissam Al-Hardan, ex-MP Mithal Al-Alusi, and Sahar Al-Tai, head of research at the cultural ministry.

Alusi is a controversial secular Sunni MP who was briefly stripped of his parliamentary immunity in 2008 for visiting Israel.

Iraq has been technically in a state of war with Israel since the latter’s creation in 1948.

After the 2003 US-led invasion, Hardan led the “Sahwa” group of Sunni tribesmen who joined with US forces in fighting extremist militants.

At the forum held in Erbil, the Kurdish capital, Tai read out a closing statement saying: “We demand our integration into the Abraham Accords.”

The UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan agreed last year to normalize ties with Israel, under a US-sponsored process dubbed the Abraham Accords.

Iraqi Kurdistan maintains cordial contacts with Israel.

But the federal government in Baghdad, which has fought in Arab-Israeli wars, does not have diplomatic ties with Israel.

The forum sparked the fury of the federal government and was also condemned by Iraqi President Barham Salah, himself a Kurd, as well as several leading figures and parties.

The government called the meeting “illegal” and “not representative” of Iraqi public opinion.

Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr urged the government to “arrest all the participants”.

Ahmad Assadi, an MP with the Hashed Al-Shaadi paramilitary coalition comprised of mostly pro-Iran groups, branded them “traitors in the eyes of the law”.

The organizers, the New York-based Center for Peace Communications (CPC), advocates normalization between Israel and Arab countries, and working to establish ties between civil society organizations.  

The 300 participants came from across Iraq, according to the CPC’s founder.

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