Iraq Arrests Activists, Ministry Employee for Calls to Normalise Ties With Israel

© Photo : Flickr/Bryan JonesIraqi flag
Iraqi flag - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.09.2021
The activists called for Baghdad to follow in the footsteps of two Gulf states that chose to normalise relations with Israel and develop diplomatic and other forms of cooperation with Tel Aviv in 2020.
Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council has issued arrest warrants for three people who attended a conference in the city of Erbil on 24 September that called on Baghdad to normalise relations with Israel. Among the three affected attendees is Sahar Al-Taie – an employee at the Iraqi Ministry of Culture. The latter soon issued a statement saying that her views do not represent that of the ministry.
The Supreme Judicial Council decried the conference as "illegal" in a statement and promised that other attendees would also be prosecuted for their participation.

"Legal action will be taken against the rest of the participants once their full names are known. The conference was not representative of the population's (opinion) and that of residents in Iraqi cities, in whose name these individuals purported to speak".

Supreme Judicial Council
The office of Iraqi President Barham Saleh also condemned the conference and its message.
Delivering a speech at the conference on 23 September, Ministry of Culture employee Sahar Al-Taie recalled the exodus of Iraqi Jews from the country under pressure in the wake of the creation of Israel in 1948.
"They looked to Iraq, and are still looking to her, waiting for the eyes of their proverbial mother to show affection for her lost children".
Sahar Al-Taie
Sahar Al-Taie also called on Iraq to join the Abraham Accords – a US-brokered agreement between Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE to normalise relations after decades of having no official diplomatic ties.
An Israeli flag flutters at the Mount of the Olives with a view of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound (background) on September 23, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.10.2020
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Israel agreed to halt the planned process of taking over new lands in the West Bank as a condition for establishing diplomatic ties and cooperating in a number of other spheres – from tourism to regional security. The two Gulf countries were soon followed by Sudan and Morocco, again with the help of the US as a middleman.
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