Comment at end
9th March 2010
Update to the below: My admiration for Mr al-Alusi has increased exponentially after reading this. A Sunni Muslim, in favour of co-operation with Israel, his car was attacked in Baghdad in February 2005 . He survived. His two sons and a bodyguard were killed. Excerpt:
For daring to visit Israel, Mithal Al-Alusi has paid with more than his life: It cost him his two sons.
A Sunni Moslem who founded the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation, or DPIN, Al-Alusi believes the new Iraq should defy the longstanding policies of most Arab nations and normalize relations with Israel.
Last September, while serving in the Iraqi interim government as director general of the national commission on de-Ba’athification, Al-Alusi visited Israel to attend the Herzliyah conference, an international policy forum that attracts scholars, politicians and Israel’s military and political elite.
Al-Alusi hadn’t even left the conference when his family began receiving death threats from insurgents.
Ultimately the insurgents murdered Al-Alusi’s sons, Ayman, 30, and Gamal, 22, who were assisting him in establishing his grassroots political party, which is forged on the principles of individual rights and cooperation with other democracies.
“No country can deal with terrorism alone,” he said. “We need an alliance of democratic countries, to make it clear to terrorists that there is no dealing with them. There is only one way — to respect peace and human rights.”
For your edification and to add intrigue to this story (aiding the conspirators in their compilation of conspiracies), the prime suspect in these murders was another Iraqi Sunni politician – Culture Minister Asad Kamal al-Hashimi. This from June 2007, reports Mr al-Alusi of accusing the US Embassy in Baghdad of giving shelter to the fugitive minister. Denied, of course. But almost three years on I have yet to find an update on charges or a trial for Mr al-Hashimi.
From Heather Robinson at Political Mavens ~ (“for thinkers”) ~ comes this (my bolding) –
Millions of voters braved the threat of bombs and bullets to participate in yesterday’s Parliamentary elections in Iraq. As usual, the terrorists tried to intimidate voters but again as usual, the sorry few cowards could not intimidate the courageous majority. What a triumph for democracy.
In the election’s aftermath, Mithal al-Alusi, an Iraqi Parliamentarian up for re-election, told a member of the Australian media he thanks former U.S. President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Here is what he said:
“Whoever would have imagined this day would ever come? I think you people in the West, who criticise those two great leaders, don’t understand that it is beginning to work. We are the beginning of true democracy in the Middle East and it is starting to spread and have an impact on the other countries.”
Last week I spoke with Mr. Alusi, whom I have interviewed many times through the years, and whose words and brave actions have blazed a trail towards a brighter future in Iraq. He is optimistic that the Iraqi Nation Party, his grassroots, secular party, which champions human rights, free press, and alliance with other democracies, will gain an additional seat in the Parliament in this election.
Spring 2009 – Middle East Forum – Minutes after the attack (which killed his sons) he told reporters, “Even if these terrorists try to kill me again, peace is the only solution. Peace with Israel is the only solution for Iraq. Peace with everybody, but no peace for the terrorists.”
Now let’s see how many in the British press are interested in THIS story of a brave Iraqi and west-supporting secular democrat? In THIS upside down world? Don’t hold your breath!
But, as an exception to the rule, David Aaronovitch says – “Iraq has moved forward. It’s time we did too.” Excerpts:
“You’d think it was a bloody miracle. And so it is, and it happened in Iraq at the weekend.”
“We’re seven years after Saddam. Seven years in which, in this country at least, nothing seems to have shifted a millimetre.”
“…but the Iraq war is the kind of thing that we should discuss for seven years.
What, so that we can hear the same stock phrases, the same conventional wisdoms that now pass from brain to lip without encountering thought along the way? The war was illegal, immoral, the greatest foreign policy blunder since Suez or since Pharaoh spurred his chariot into the Red Sea, Blair lied or dissimulated, was Bush’s poodle, was driven crazy by his own messianism, didn’t tell the Cabinet anything, didn’t listen to the country’s clear opposition — all the sentiments that led to the bizarre spectacle of Clare Short being applauded at the end of her woeful evidence at the inquiry.”
“Seven years on, it’s gone well beyond the original wound, and we’re at the stage where many folk twist the knife in their own scar to keep it bleeding. They want to stay wounded — they enjoy their wounds. And I’m not even talking about that corrupted part of our body politic that took sides with the murderous insurgents and described them as liberators. But the biggest reason for lamenting seven years of obsessive Shortism is not that it’s been horrid, but that there has been an intellectual and strategic cost to it. In the first place it has made it almost impossible to discuss the Iraqis themselves, to consult them or listen to them.”
“Even years on they won’t want Chilcot, or anyone else, to look at Iraq now and say that there is definitely an important new democracy in the Middle East, and that its existence is one of the most hopeful changes in recent times. And yet, miracle that it is (Iraqi miracle that it is), it’s true.”
What is Mr Blair up to today? Putting his feet up and retiring after scribbling his memoirs longhand? Er …no.
And tomorrow, Wednesday 10th March – this.
Tags: al-Alusi, al-Alusi sons killed, britain, Culture Minister Asad Kamal al-Hashimi, George W Bush, Iraq, Iraqi elections, Iraqi Parliamentarian, Israel, Mithal al-Alusi, thanks to Bush & Blair, Tony Blair, usa