Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Iraqi Ally of Israel on Hagel, “This is Not a Minister of Defense, But a Minister of Chaos” (INTERVIEW)

January 27, 2013 7:58 pm 7 comments

Chuck Hagel visiting Iraq. Photo: Wiki Commons.

On Friday I spoke with former Iraqi Parliamentarian Mithal al Alusi, who has championed counter-terrorism cooperation and normalized relations between Iraq and Israel. This Arab ally of Israel is dismayed by what he sees as President Obama’s abandonment of the liberals and moderates of the Mideast.

In particular, Alusi thinks Obama is signaling weakness in support of genuine liberals and moderates, and appeasement of extremists such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as well as Islamist extremists in his own country, Iraq. Furthermore, he views the President’s nomination of Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to the position of Secretary of Defense as a sign of weakness that he thinks is confusing moderates and emboldening Islamist extremists throughout the Mideast.

“What we hear from your country makes us so confused,” Alusi said. “What [potential] American defense minister will say he will never go to war? Such a statement from a high level politician will … push Iran to understand there is no serious position in America.”

Regarding Iran, Hagel said publicly in 2006, “I do not expect any kind of military solution on the Iran issue … a military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.”

Alusi commented last week, “This is not a minister of defense, it’s a minister of chaos. [Choosing Hagel] makes it seem Mr. Obama is just a joke, American power is just a joke.”

He added, “If a soldier says, ‘I will never go in a war. I am afraid of war, he is not a soldier.'”

Alusi clarified that he believes a military option against Iran’s nuclear program should be undertaken “only if there is no alternative.” But he believes Hagel’s outright statement of refusal to consider the possibility will be interpreted in the Mideast as a sign of weakness, and exploited.

“This is not the best way,” said Alusi. “A minister of defense should be a man who understands that if there is a need, he will move. To have a minister of defense who will never go to war-that is how it’s translated to us-even if there is no alternative … this is dangerous.”

In recent months, thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets in protest of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s rule as violence has rocked the nation. Suicide bombers have killed hundreds, sometimes dozens per day, in cities across Iraq including Baghdad, Kirkuk (Kurdistan), and Fallujah as well as smaller towns like Hilla, Karbala, and Dujail.

Alusi believes that the violence is driven by extremist militias, and calls on President Obama to project U.S. power and stop sending what Alusi views as signals of weakness to extremists.

“If you talk to the Taliban, Salafis, Wahhabis, Hezbollah, and the Iranians, you cannot expect peace,” Alusi said. “I would like him to speak in a way this is serious … Iran, the Taliban, Islamist parties, need to feel the U.S. is a superpower, not [that Obama] is a good boy for the Islamists.”

Regarding this week’s Israeli election, Alusi said, “I wish the parties there understand their responsibility after the election that … the safety of human beings should be number one, a very serious goal for the new government.”

Asked what he believes would empower moderates across the Middle East, Alusi urged Obama to make clear his support for them, not the Islamists.

“I would like to say, Mr. Obama, are you interested in peace in the Mideast?” Alusi said. “Are you interested in human rights and values, which your country and everybody paid a big price for? You are supporting the wrong side … If you want to support a free Iraq, don’t [appease] Iranians who are killing our people every day.”

He added, “America should guarantee there will be no major change in the balance of power. If it changes, if Iran gets an atom bomb, we will have a war. If jihadists [continue to] gain power in Iraq and other countries, there will be war.”

7 Comments

  • Obama’s moves may indeed show “weakness,” to those in the Mideast concerned with achieving meaningful democracy but our President’s focus is inclusion of Muslim led governments as much any other form. He does not agree with the ideas promulgated by Western democracies as they would be applied in other countries. He is socialistic, liberal and anti-colonial. Thus, none of his moves or appointments should surprise.

  • I hope & pray that Hagel gets a tough grilling in the Senate and that his nomination never goes through! Obama is papering his Ogime with spineless libturds – sending out all sorts of bad messages about the USA and how it intends (or NOT!) to use its power. Pray for the USSA!! (No, that’s not a typo – just restating the name in old Soviet (USSR) style!)

  • OBAMA MAY NOT B ABLE 2 GO 2 WAR, IN SUPPORT OF 1 SIDE OR THE OTHER, BECAUSE THE U.S.A. IS ACTUALLY BANKRUPT OR NEAR IT. WHO WUD’ LEND IT MONEY WHEN IT WUD’ B CHEWED UP IN WEAPONRY.

  • We must always keep in mind Teddy Roosevelt’s admonition, “Walk softly, but carry a big stick.” I believe that there would have been no WWI had he been president instead of Wilson. He was an intellectual of the first degree, but he wasn’t a naive do gooder.

    Do see: Rabbi Arnold J. Wolf, a leftist anti-Zionist activist, Obama’s long time neighbor and mentor in Chicago, to learn more of Obama’s views on Israel.

    • It is foolish in the extreme to imagine that, had TR been president instead of Wilson, WW1 would not have occurred.

      WW1 was the result of historical EUROPEAN complexities that had nothing to do with the US and that the US was incapable of influencing.

      As a national culture, we in the US labor under a narcisistic belief that we can [and should!] influence every issue in the word, even when we know nothing about the regional realities.

  • A weak person has no strength to show. Obama is weak and selects weak people.

    • Obama is weak? How do you explain his fortitude in sending our troops to kill bin Laden?

      Bush was “strong”? Ignorant as he was, he lied to us to invade a country that posed NO risk to us, resulting in the deaths of over 4,000 US service members and over 100,000 Iraqi CIVILIANS, and destabilizing an entire region. He committed IMPEACHABLE crimes and, if the US were truly a country committed to the rule of law, would have been removed from office.

      The people of our country are so poorly informed and so easily manipulated that most of our citizens don’t even know how to pronounce Iraq, and ignorantly pronounce it “Eye-rak”. How many ‘muricans could even locate Iraq or Viet Nam on a map of the world??

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features World Graves of Jewish Pirates in Jamaica Give Caribbean Tourists Taste of Little-Known History

    Graves of Jewish Pirates in Jamaica Give Caribbean Tourists Taste of Little-Known History

    Tour operators are calling attention to Jamaica’s little-known Jewish heritage by arranging visits to historic Jewish sites on the Caribbean island, including a cemetery where Jewish pirates are buried. A report in Travel and Leisure magazine describes the Hunts Bay Cemetery in Kingston, where there are seven tombstones engraved with Hebrew benedictions and skull and crossbones insignia. According to the report, centuries ago, Jewish pirates sailed the waters of Jamaica and settled in Port Royal. The town, once known as “the wickedest city in the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Filmmaker Eyal Resh Embraces the Challenge of Telling Israel’s Story (VIDEO)

    Filmmaker Eyal Resh Embraces the Challenge of Telling Israel’s Story (VIDEO)

    JNS.org – Telling Israel’s story. It’s the specific title of a short film that Eyal Resh created last year. It’s also the theme behind the 27-year-old Israeli filmmaker’s broader body of work. The widely viewed “Telling Israel’s Story” film—directed by Resh for a gala event hosted by the Times of Israel online news outlet—seemingly begins as a promotional tourism video, but quickly evolves to offer a multilayered perspective. “I want to tell you a story about a special place for me,” a young woman whispers […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Israel Geeks Out: Science, Art and Tech Event Embodies Jewish State’s ‘DNA’

    Israel Geeks Out: Science, Art and Tech Event Embodies Jewish State’s ‘DNA’

    JNS.org – The entrance to Jerusalem’s Sacher Park was transformed from April 25-27 by a fire-breathing robotic dragon, which flailed its arms and attempted to take flight. The robot, a signature feature at Jerusalem’s first-ever “Geek Picnic,” was one of more than 150 scientific amusements available for the public to experience. This particular dragon was designed by students from Moscow’s Art Industrial Institute in conjunction with the Flacon design factory, said Anatasia Shaminer, a student who helped facilitate the display. Children […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love. CreateSpace, 2015. The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love, is a very interesting novel. Equally a political and romantic thriller, at times a real page-turner, it gets you intimately involved in the dire situation in today’s Syria, as well as in the romantic entanglements of its mostly New York-based characters — whose entanglements just might determine the fate of that dire situation in Syria. Along the way it introduces a really important idea that somehow […]

    Read more →
  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →