Will Iraq Regognize Israel?

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Thomas Carothers raises a test case for the Iraqi democracy: "[I]s it really likely that a majority of Iraqis, if allowed to express their opinions freely, would push now for recognition of Israel?" If the popular will everywhere else in the Arab world is any indication, the answer is obviously no. It might be possible if the recognition were part of a new version of last year's Saudi peace plan, though even then it's doubtful that any recognition would reflect a majority of Iraqi opinion. Ahmed Chalabi has said he would recognize Israel, but he shilly-shallies when pressed on the issue, and he also asserts that "the new Iraq will be a main supporter of the Palestinian people." (Meanwhile, an apparatchik in Israel's national infrastructure ministry says that the undemocratic kingdom of Jordan may consider re-opening a Mandate-era oil pipeline from Mosul to Haifa.)

NEXT: Baghdad via Beijing

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  1. the administration has always been cagey about calling the post-saddam administration of iraq “democracy,” always preferring the term “representative government.” (think “vital role” for the UN)

  2. I’m betting they will recognize Israel ? if we give them enough whiskey and sexy.

  3. This strikes me as an odd and somewhat inflammatory thing to bring up at this juncture.

  4. I tend to get a little bitter and cynical after having lies and spin jammed down my throat for 18 months.

    I’m thrilled for the Iraqis, really. But this was never about bringing them democracy. Just happened to be a nice side effect.

  5. Sven,

    You and Lazarus Long ought to talk about real politick some time. 🙂

  6. As pointed out in Sara Rimensnyder’s 4/7 reasononline coluum “Puppet Show”, Ahmed Chalabi
    is a convicted embezzler with little to zip popular support in Iraq as well as the neo-con’s
    favorite to be Iraq’s new leader. This would be a disaster, not just because Chalabi would seen as a US puppet but more over because he would be a puppet. Want to avert this disaster? Want this war to actually result in freedom for Iraq?
    Call and email your rep. and senators and tell then not to let the pentagon (the state dept. is against him; The neo-cons are much more influential in the pentagon) impose Chalabi on Iraq. So, more germane to the original qestion,why does Richard Perle want Chalabi so much? Because Perle sees him as best for Arial Sharon? Because with Chalabi’s background in fraud he’s Perle’s kind of guy? (To be fair: Perle hasn’t been convicted of anything yet) Maybe Both.

  7. Poliblogger and Rick Barton map out the two opposite positions on this question: The one that says the question is not appropriate to raise, and the one that immediately answers the question with reference to the Clean Break Cabal. If Perle wants good things to happen for Israel, he’s in tune with a large majority of American voters, as that will is expressed in both opinion polls and voting patterns. Nor is it odd or inflammatory to speculate on how Iraqi-Israeli relations will shake out in the near future. The question is essential to the future of the middle east, and the answer will indicate whether we can both encourage a true democracy and encourage the results we would prefer. (Maybe we can!)

  8. What’s good for Sharon is a different thing than what’s good for Israel. A good case can infact be made for an inverse relationship. The Israeli death toll under the the Sharon regime in the conflict with the Palestinians is, by any
    measure, far greater than under any other leader.
    And then there is his hideous and ongoing treatment of the Palestinians which has produced a death toll thrice that of the Israeli carnage. Not to mention the additional muti-varied suffering and humiliation they are put through. Sharon is persuing a “Greater Israel” vision which
    holds no respect for Palestian aspirations, no end to the occupation and enough lip service to a “road map” for a Palestinian state to make sure the real thing never happens. In a previous post, when I said that “to be fair…Richard Perle hadn’t been convicted of any crime yet”, I was referring to his lobbying scandal – not the 1970 incident in which he was overheard on a federal wiretap giving classified information from the National Security Council to the Israeli embassy. I don’t know that there wasn’t a conviction in that case, but I don’t think so.

  9. Oh come ON, don’t you think that, just maybe, after 30 years of hell, perhaps the Iraqis want more from their government than Jew-hatred? Just because they are Arabs doesn’t mean hating Israel takes precedence over jobs, food, water and freedom. Arab dictators have provided Jew-hatred to their populations for decades – it hasn’t improved the lives of their people one bit, although it serves as a useful distraction. I think this is the moment at which Middle Eastern dictators wake up and smell the arak; they need to come up with something new- and fast.

  10. Oh yeah, kind of like how the Iraqi’s and the Arab’s agree on the war. Yeah, looks like they are quite in tune.

  11. Rick,

    What’s good for Sharon is a different thing than what’s good for Israel. A good case can infact be made for an inverse relationship. The Israeli death toll under the the Sharon regime in the conflict with the Palestinians is, by any
    measure, far greater than under any other leader.

    Excellent point. And since you could also make the case that getting bogus recognition from a non-legitimate government (akin to the brief peace treaty signed with the Gemayel brothers in 1983) could also be good for Sharon but ultimately bad for Israel, I stand momentarily corrected.

  12. Tim-

    Personally I agree with Poliblogger- I’m tired of Israel/Palestine sucking up all the Middle East oxygen. Iraq can’t even have a liberation without people asking “So, what about ISRAEL?…”

    I mention this because you’ve begged the question yourself by placing Poliblogger’s position as opposite Rick’s, when it’s quite obvious that YOUR position is actually opposite, with Poliblogger splitting the difference.

    Most telling is your dividing “true democracy” and “the results we would prefer”. Thank you for your candor. If we didn’t invade to prevent WMDs (none found so far- though personally I believe they are there), and we didn’t enter to “bring freedom and democracy”, then what exactly are the results we prefer?

    Thankfully, you answer that question by refering to “opinion polls and voting records” supporting what’s best for Israel.

    Curiously enough, your post also dovetails quite well with Mark’s post supposing anti-semitism is somehow imposed from the outside. While the flames are undoubtadly fanned by their leaders, I believe your post baldly states the (rational) reasons for their hatred. They KNOW the world doesn’t give a shit about .5 million dead iraqi children, compared to 10 dead Israeli’s in a bus bomb.

    I just mention this because your post so eloquently states the obvious- Isreal being “recognized” is more important than Iraqi’s actually getting democracy.

    Again, thanks for your honesty.

  13. Sir Real, your alias is aptly chosen. The Israel/Palestine question sucks up all the oxygen because it is absolutely central to the future of the middle east; Arabs are practically unanimous in viewing it as the most important matter facing their region. To the degree I can follow your post, I don’t understand the objection to bringing it up, or to acknowledging that there is widespread popular support for Israel in the United States. I don’t think the Arabs’ support for the Palestinians is due to the “Jew hatred” Mark refers to any more than our support for Israel is due to “Arab hatred.” In fact I think Mark’s comment, which you seem to have me agreeing with, is completely fatuous. Our adventure in Iraq has not magically made the Israelestine issue go away, nor will Iraqis be so grateful eating our food and voting in elections that they will stop thinking about the issue, nor is the Arabs’ animosity toward Israel some massive Wag the Dog dodge their leaders have cooked up. And as for “results we prefer,” I meant electoral results we prefer-i.e, how can we encourage a real democracy to do things we would like? How is any of this stuff controversial, or even unusual, to bring up?

  14. “To be fair: Perle hasn’t been convicted of anything ”

    To be fair, he also hasn’t been elected of anything.

  15. Tim,
    I forgot to mention. Don’t feel bad. Somtimes when I stand corrected its a lot longer than momentarily. Its like tell my feet hurt.

  16. Tim,
    Whoops I mean “till”. I stand corrected.

  17. Tim,
    Yes; an interesting bit of history you bring up. The Isrealis did their 1982 invasion,in part, to facilitate Bashir Gemayel’s election by parliament
    but He was assassinated just 2 or 3 weeks later by
    a radical Syrian group favoring Syrian annexation
    of Lebanon as they saw the country as an artificial creaton of the French cutting away part of Syria.

  18. Do you think there will be computers in the new Iraq? Do you think elite users in Iraq will be able to find their way to the web pages for AEC, Heritage, NAC, WINEP, IASPS, et al, and learn for themselves about all the Arab input into the rehabilitation project for Iraq and the Muslim mid-east?

    Second question: will there be US military outposts in Iraq for longer than 1 year? For how long? (…your best guess)

    Third question- soon: free press in Iraq?

    Fourth question- soon: academic freedom in the universities of Iraq?

    Final question: Shi’a majority rule in Iraq? (one person/one vote?)

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