Why civilised countries should have nothing to do with Iraq

A law, known as the “Criminalising normalisation with the Zionist entity”, has passed on in the Iraqi parliament on Thursday 26 May.

Every one of the 275 MPs present voted for the law – with no dissension and no abstentions.

For the law to be formally adopted, it still requires the signing off by the president of Iraq Mr Barham Salih.

The law has been submitted by the Cleric Muqtada Al Sadr who heads the party which won the biggest share in the October 2021 Election – but to date, he has failed to form a government.

The law which has been rushed with through parliament with three readings within a week, is badly written, barbaric, and regressive.

It is a copy-and-paste from an earlier law enacted in 1969 by the murderous Ba’ath Regime.

I was 14 years old at the time and part of the dwindling Jewish community, terrorised by a brutal regime and orchestrated by Saddam Hussein. It saw fit, as part of its anti-sematic strategy, to hang 10 innocent Jews on the 27 January 1969, displaying their bodies in the public squares of Baghdad and Basrah.

Much has happened in the region since then. The United Arab Emirates became an independent state in 1971, with a vision of creating a prosperous state with unmatched quality of life for its citizens.

Through welcoming millions and millions of people from all over the world, without reference to their religion sect, colour, or gender, it invited visitors to join the building of an oasis of peace and prosperity in the desert – to enrich and be enriched by hard work, creativity and the hunger to succeed in a secure and safe environment devoid of violence, xenophobia and corruption.

With the Abrahamic cause, the doors were open for Israelis and Jews from all over the world, attracted by the warm welcome and the freedom of religion, to establish a new, budding diverse community in a Muslim Arab country for the first time in a century.

In contrast, Iraq, after 2003, and in spite of a dictated constitution and superficial democratisation, sank into a cesspool of extreme corruption, ugly sectarianism, and the politicisation of religion.

That country, bereft of basic human rights and services for its citizens, and empowered by the poisonous Iranian influence, has embarked on a similar path to other failed states by tolerating all the 50 armed militia groups by kidnapping, assassinating, and killing those who dare oppose this path of destruction to a country.

It was once, in the past, the cradle of civilisation and also, potentially, could have been one of the richest on the planet. The ancient Jewish Babylonian community – which traces its stay in this part of the world back over 2600 years – has been reduced by ethnic cleansing, forced displacement, confiscation of assets, public hangings, torture and disappearances to less than a handful of individuals. This law forbids them from having any communication with the Israel.

To quote article 7: “A sentence of death by execution or lifetime prison will be applied to any person who seeks to normalise, contact, or promote the ‘entity’ or any ideas, principles, ideologies, or Zionist or Masonic nature, in any form, whether public or secret, including conferences, gatherings, publications, social media networks, or by any other means.”

The international community and the civilised world should refrain from trading or dealing with Iraq until such licensed brutality against its own citizens is removed from the statuary books .

About the Author
Edwin Shuker is Vice President of the Board of Deputies Communities Division.