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Uproar in Iraq Over MP's Visit to Israel

An Anti-Baath Iraqi MP has been called a "traitor" for again visiting Israel. After his first visit during Saddam's reign, his sons were murdered.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 9/14/2008, 12:06 PM

The Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat reports that Iraq is in an uproar, following the news that a Member of Parliament has visited Israel for the second time. 

Anti-Baath Iraqi MP Mithal Alusi, head of the Democratic HaUmah party and of the Organization to Oust the Baath Party from the Iraqi Government, apparently visited Israel last week.  His office refused to confirm that he was in Israel, saying only, "He is outside Iraq."

Alusi visited Israel several years ago, when Saddam Hussein was still in power.  When word of that visit got out, his two sons were killed by Baath Party sympathizers.

A Shiite MP called the current visit "an act of treachery against the Iraqi nation."  He also criticized Alusi's comments against Iran, calling on the Parliament to investigate him for "his attempt to sabotage our relations with the important neighboring country of Iran."

Another MP said that Alusi's visit to Israel had "crossed all red lines" and was a "provocation of Iraqi and Arab sensibilities."

Even a Kurdish MP said that Alusi's call on Iraq to forge diplomatic relations with Israel "is not appropriate and is not correct," in that Iraq needs the support of Arab and Moslem countries. Israel has traditionally had very positive relations with the Kurdish minority in Iraq.