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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Food Jewish Identity A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    Everybody knows that cooking varies from country to country. There are Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, etc. We associate different styles of cuisine with different languages. Do we also think of the association of different cuisines with different dialects? We should, because cooking also varies from region to region. Litvaks and Galitsyaners have their own traditions of preparing gefilte fish. Marvin I. Herzog, in his book The Yiddish Language in Northern Poland: Its Geography and History (Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mouton & Co., The […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    An analysis of New York Times wedding announcements showed that women married in Jewish ceremonies were less likely to take their husband’s last names than those married in Roman Catholic ceremonies, the Times reported on Saturday. The largest gap between the two groups was in 1995 when 66 percent of Catholic women took their husband’s names and 33 percent of Jewish women did the same. Nearly half of the women featured in the publication’s wedding pages since 1985 took their husband’s name after marriage, while about […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    JNS.org – Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB’s president and CEO, said the organization was “honored to recognize not only [Lewis’s] comedic innovation, but also his remarkable […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli athletes marked a successful day on Sunday, as gymnasts won multiple bronze and silver medals in the 2015 European Games in Baku. The Gymnastics team won two silver medals and one bronze in group events, while Neta Rivkin, an Israeli Olympic gymnast, won bronze for the Solo Hoops event. Sunday’s gymnastics wins follow Sergey Richter’s bronze on June 16 for the Men’s 10 meter air-rifle, and Ilana Kratysh’s silver for women’s freestyle wrestling. The 2015 European Games in Baku are […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Russian-American Jews are some of the most successful ballroom dancing competitors in the U.S., South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Radio reported on Thursday. Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, said their success can be traced back to Jewish discrimination in the former Soviet Union. Because of the prejudice they faced, Russian Jews had to perform better than their peers in every field, including dancing, in order to have a chance of getting ahead. “They knew that if they […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    An Israeli dancer made use of Jewish props in an extraordinary routine that left judges amazed when he auditioned for season 12 of TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance on Monday. At first, the panel of judges appeared confused when Asaf Goren, 23, began his audition in Los Angeles with a tallit (prayer shawl) over his head and the blowing of a shofar, which he explained “opens the sky” for people’s prayers. However, as soon as he started his “Hebrew breaking” performance, […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    JNS.org – A fairytale ending to Jewish basketball coach David Blatt’s first season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was not meant to be, as the Blatt-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night dropped Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, 105-97, to lose the best-of-seven series 4-2. Blatt, who just last year coached Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv franchise to a European basketball championship, failed to finish a second straight hoops season on top. But after the Cavaliers began the NBA […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Israelis Venture to Cleveland for NBA Finals

    Israelis Venture to Cleveland for NBA Finals

    JNS.org – The people who sat in seats one and two of row 12, section 120 at Quicken Loans Arena during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night weren’t your ordinary Cleveland Cavaliers fans. Tomer Hulli and his father, Eli, made the trip from Israel to attend games 3 and 4 in Cleveland. Tomer, who lives in Tzur Moshe, a 25-minute drive north of Tel Aviv, has been playing basketball since he was 5. Hulli said he didn’t plan this […]

    Read more →