Exclusive: Iraqi Ally of Israel Dispossessed of his Home, he Says by Iraqi PM Maliki
by Heather Robinson
Former Iraqi Parliamentarian Mithal al-Alusi, who in a series of recent interviews with The Algemeiner has spoken of Iran’s alleged bribery of numerous Iraqi officials, says he has received notice from the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that he is being dispossessed of his home in Baghdad’s Green Zone.
The notice, which Alusi says he received “indirectly” on Tuesday, came in the form of a document (please see below) that appears to bear the letterhead of the prime minister’s office.
The document is written in Arabic and it reads, “Delete the order that this house belongs to Mithal al-Alusi” and includes an “order that this house goes to the Minister [of Environmental Affairs,]” according to Alusi, who translated for The Algemeiner.
Alusi says it also says he has 15 days to vacate, but it is dated ‘August 14’ – an indication, according to Alusi, that “they are playing games” – because he received it only August 28.
On Wednesday Alusi told The Algemeiner that he expects that “tomorrow [the government] will come with the military and some kind of circus” to evict him.
Twice elected to serve in Iraq’s Parliament, Alusi is founder of the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation, an independent political party that champions human rights, rule of law, free speech, and cooperation among democracies in fighting terrorism.
Following his 2004 trip to Israel to attend a counter-terrorism conference, terrorists murdered his two grown sons, apparently as “payback” for Alusi’s visiting Israel. Refusing to be intimidated, Alusi stayed in Iraq and continued to build his political party, which his sons had helped him establish. In 2005, he traveled to the U.S. to receive the American Jewish Committee’s Moral Courage Award. He visited Israel several times while serving in Iraq’s Parliament.
Several times in recent months Alusi spoke with this reporter about his belief that some Iraqi politicians are turning a blind eye to the use of Iraq’s banking system by Iranian agents in order to funnel money to Iran’s regime.
Earlier this year, he told this reporter that Iraq’s Central Bank was processing hundreds of millions of dollars a day more than usual, and that, according to sources within the bank, Iran’s agents were behind this financial maneuvering. He also said that, according to sources within the Iraqi intelligence community, the same individuals who were “buying hundreds of millions of dollars in cash” from Iraq’s Central Bank were arranging for these dollars to be carried from Iraq into Syria, and then transported to Iran in order to get around the U.S.-led sanctions.
“We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in cash going in to Syria-in suitcases-and then it goes to Iran,” he said at the time.
In April, he spoke about the establishment of several banks in Iraq that he said “have the right to buy U.S. or Iraqi dollars from the Iraqi Central Bank.” He said that “Iranian intelligence” had set up these banks to enable Iran’s agents to launder money.
He also asserted that some Iraqi politicians were taking bribes from Iran, and that he has refused to take money from people he believes to be Iran’s agents.
This month The New York Times reported that a network of Iraqi banks are indeed “providing a crucial flow of dollars” that are helping Iran skirt U.S.-led sanctions, and that “American and Iraqi officials, along with banking and oil experts, say that Iraqi government officials are turning a blind eye to the large financial flows, smuggling, and other trade with Iran” and that in some cases Iraqi government officials are directly profiting from the activity.
On Wednesday, Alusi held a press conference in Iraq where he discussed his pending eviction as well as well as his concerns about Iran’s infiltration of Iraq’s government and banks. Afterward, he gave an interview to Al Arabiya network that is set to air Thursday in which he discussed his pending eviction from his home as well as his beliefs regarding some Iraqi politicians’ alleged subordination to Iran’s regime, he said.
He believes Maliki’s administration has kicked him out of his home to try to silence him.
“They want us to speak in the way they want, so they are terrorizing us,” he said. “Not just me, many politicians with an opposition point of view, they will be punished immediately … Isn’t it strange the terrorists and [Iraq’s] Prime Minister have the same goal?”
In February, Alusi survived an assassination attempt.
He refuses to leave Iraq or to stop speaking out about the need for “values and moral standards” in the region, he told The Algemeiner
A U.S. diplomatic delegation is expected to visit Baghdad and meet with Iraqi politicians in coming days. Given that the U.S. and Iraq have agreed to continued security and military cooperation, and the U.S. has pledged to continue supporting Iraq’s democracy, Alusi calls upon the U.S. diplomats to raise several issues with Iraqi politicians.
Specifically, he would like the U.S. delegation to raise the issue of amnesty, which he characterizes as a movement within Iraq’s government to release violent extremists, both Sunni and Shia, from Iraq’s prisons. While this issue appears to be a domestic one, he says that in fact it relates to international as well as Iraqi security.
“It looks like an Iraqi issue,” he said. “In reality they are trying to push something more than dangerous.”
He believes the reason Iraqi politicians “on both sides” are lobbying for the release of these violent offenders is that many of these same politicians have ties to the criminals’ respective militias.
Moreover, he said the militias, both Sunni and Shiite, are receiving money from Iran’s leaders, who wish to foment chaos in the region and thereby distract U.S. policymakers from addressing Iran’s march toward nuclear capability.
If Iraq’s government undertakes this reciprocal freeing of terrorists from Iraq’s jails “normal citizens will be afraid, and the killers who sit in jail now will be free,” he said.
Another point he believes the U.S. delegation should raise is the sale of F-16s—long distance aircraft—to Iraq’s government. He believes U.S. diplomats should demand assurance that the aircraft will not be used in support of Iran.
“The [U.S. delegation needs] to make it clear – the U.S. will never allow Iraq to be part of the Iranian tools in the region.”
In general, he would like to see the U.S. demand higher standards of accountability and ethical conduct from Iraqi politicians if the latter want U.S. support and assistance.
“The U.S. guaranteed us they would [promote] Iraqi democracy,” he said. “But we have … a militia system under the name of democracy … So at least [we need] a signal from [Washington] DC, ‘We are serious, we want to be your partner but you have to reach a level of character and standards to be our partner.'”
He would like to hear statements from U.S. politicians at the Republican National Convention that reflect awareness that pursuing peace in the Mideast means more than promoting expedient policy.
“Peace means we have reached certain standards,” he said. “To support the values of peace [is] not just regimes playing temporary ceasefire as a game, but standing for the free way of thinking, women’s rights, a free press, [and] the rule of law.”