July 28, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 6117

Iraqi Ummah Party Leader Mithal Al-Alusi: ISIS Is An Arab-Muslim Creation; I Long For Peace With Israel

July 28, 2015
Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 6117

In an interview with the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai that was published July 5, 2015, Sunni Iraqi MP and leader of the Ummah Party Mithal Al-Alusi said that the Arabs and Muslims are responsible for the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS). Arguing that ISIS the organization is an Arab and Muslim creation because it was they who allowed extremist views, a vengeance mentality, and nullification of the other, he called for combating this approach, and for uniting the Arab and Muslim ranks in the struggle against ISIS.

The newspaper asked Al-Alusi, who has visited Israel several times, about his position vis-à-vis the country, and he replied that he supports peace with Israel and longs for an Iraqi Embassy in Israel with an Iraqi flag flying atop it. He also called Iran an "insane actor" that is gambling with the lives of the Iranian people in its attempts to take over the region.

Following are excerpts from the interview: <![]-->

Mithal Al-Alusi (Source: Al-Rai, Kuwait, July 5, 2015)

Iraq Should Rebuild Its Relations With Arab Countries

"Q: Iraq has been fighting ISIS and dealing with internal political crises. Is this the appropriate time to rebuild its relations with Arab countries?"

"A: Iraq is a founding member of the Arab League, and must rebuild its relations with Arab [countries]. The previous [Ba'thist] regime, even 50 years ago, did not act as a country but rather in accordance with the path of an absolutist ruler [i.e. Saddam Hussein], and this did not express the Iraqi state's level or ambitions. The current regime has also erred. Iraq should understand the importance of relations with the countries of the region. Saddam [Hussein] committed a crime when he invaded Kuwait, [when he launched] the Iran-Iraq war and internal wars, and [when he] killed Iraqis. It is time for us to act as a country, and no foreign minister, prime minister, or any other politician should do what he wishes."

End Ties With The U.S.

"Q: Is there a strategic dimension to Iraq's policy? Why do some parties insist on ending ties with the U.S.?"

"A: It might seem strange that this demand is made by democratic liberals whom I help lead, [but] I am among those who want to end ties with it. These ties are characterized by patronage and ambiguity. The Iraqis should not demand that the U.S. be their mother, father, and sponsor. [On the other hand,] the Americans should understand that U.S.-Iraq relations are an interest far removed from occupation and liberation, and from ideological aspects..."

"Q: Is it the U.S. that wishes to relinquish Iraq?"

"A: No. It would be an injustice [to say that]. The U.S. has paid, and is still paying, a heavy price in Iraq. It is unfair and unjust to attack it like this. The Obama administration claims that what is happening in Iraq is the legacy of Bush, and that the Iraqis have failed and do not want to succeed, because he hears from Iraqi politicians and leaders that they do not want the U.S."

ISIS Is A Product Of Extremist Islam, We Must Unite To Fight It

"Q: What is the future of the war against ISIS, which is spreading to Iraq's neighbors and to other countries in the region?"

"A: I am glad to see ISIS spreading to the Gulf states. This might be a shocking statement, but I mean no offense and certainly do not relish the death of anyone, either from the Gulf or from Israel. But we must all understand that ISIS is the disease of this generation, and could continue [to exist] for another 100 years. This crisis is not only Iraq's. We must fight our internal mentality - the mentality of vengeance and nullification of the other [that] created ISIS, the criminal terrorist organization that harms Islam and that committed a criminal terrorist act in Kuwait against our Kuwaiti sons, friends, neighbors, and brothers, and the [terrorist] actions in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere. All these are the victims of ISIS. We must understand that this group is a terrorist organization that all must combat. We must all stand on a united front. If we agree to this, [it means] that we agree to a new world, without militias and weapons."

"Q: You have argued that [ISIS] will exist for 100 years. Will this become part of the political reality?"

"A: Terrorism is absolutely not going to end in less than 100 years... What drives a teenager from Europe - the continent of music, culture, art, and liberty - to grow his 'beard' and to adopt views that call for crime, killing, and cruelty, to leave behind happiness and freedom in order to join an exiled barbaric group? There is a global rebel movement that emerged because of a failure of culture, an economic crisis, or a lack of understanding. The propagandists of extremist Islam have exploited this to establish ISIS, and we must fight them by punishing anyone who commits a crime."

"Q: Who created ISIS?"

"A: It is our creation, not a Western or European or Crusader or Jewish or Israeli creation. It is a creation of the Arabs and Muslims, because we have failed to protect our society and have allowed these extremist views -to exist]."

"Q: Do you believe that the post-2003 circumstances in Iraq are what created ISIS, specifically after the dismantling of the previous entities?"

"A: There is no doubt that ISIS is the first phase in the development that was created from Al-Qaeda. And there is no doubt that [Al-Qaeda in Iraq founder] Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi played a significant role that made the creation of ISIS possible - as did the eight years of failure by the [Iraqi] government, and the great lies that it, and the parliament, told when they announced educational, security, and economic achievements, as well as reconciliation [among sectarian groups in Iraq]. It was all a lie. ISIS constitutes a reaction and a rebellion by the failed, the foolish, the criminal, and the wretched. ISIS has a pathetic lunatic [i.e. Al-Baghdadi] who should [be committed to] a psychiatric hospital - but at this time he is the leader of ISIS - [an organization] that was created as a result of the Arab-Islamic failure."

Iraq Is Suffering From A Crisis And A Dangerous Social Struggle

"Q: Will Al-Anbar remains in the hands of ISIS and suffer the same fate as Mosul?"

"A: The government has announced goals [including the liberation of Mosul and Al-Anbar], and Iraqi political forces [have also] stated that the liberation of Mosul and Al-Anbar is near. This is not true. We must acknowledge that most ISIS fighters - more than 90% of them - are Iraqis. They are members of the Abu Nimr, Abu Fahd, Abu Risha, and other tribes. There is a crisis and a dangerous social struggle, which will not be resolved solely by military means. We require a strategic action center to lay out the military foundations. We must prove to the citizens that the state and independent judiciary can deter the corrupt. Therefore, so long as the people see a government that cannot enact reforms, Al-Anbar and Mosul will not be liberated, and we [will] not [be able to] defend Baghdad."

Iran Will Not Take Over The Region

"Q: Isn't Iran is the most influential [country] in the region?"

"A: No. It is the most insane actor, which gambles with the lives of its sons, its people, and its history in order to [realize] the Iranian leaders' false vision. It is inconceivable that Iran will control the region someday, and it does not have the power to do so."

Iraq Is Not Ripe For True National Reconciliation

"Q: In light of the existence and continued expansion of ISIS, do you believe that Iraq's political scene would be forced to discuss solutions such as true reconciliation for deeply rooted crises?"

"A: Before we launch a project of national reconciliation, we must understand that rejecting the other is inhuman, savage, and not much different than ISIS itself. The Iraqi parties are not the only ones responsible for this failure - we all are. Reconciliation is a lofty project that will place citizenship, peace, and human rights at the top [of the agenda]. However, do we currently treat Christians and Muslims equally? When has the country [truly] been ripe [for reconciliation]? I believe that reconciliation is nonexistent."

Peace With Israel Is In Our Interest

"Q: Do you support normalization with Israel?"

"A: Yes. Israel is a state and I support peace with it. I want to see an [Iraqi] embassy [in Israel] and the Iraqi flag flying atop it. This is in our interest. I do not want to tie our interests [solely] to Abu Mazen

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