August 29, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6591

Iraqi Writer: The Iraqis' Suffering Is Greater Than The Palestinians'; We Should Put Ourselves First

August 29, 2016
Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 6591

On July 3, 2016, Iraqi writer Haidar Sabi argued, in the daily Al-Zaman, that although the Iraqis are suffering as much as or even more than the Palestinians, the Arab world empathizes only with the Palestinians, abandoning the Iraqis to their fate. As proof of his statements, Sabi compares Iraqi and Palestinian death tolls, the overall situation of both, the devastation and destruction each faces, and the support each receive; he concludes that the Iraqis are far worse off. Some 1,500 Palestinians carried out suicide attacks in Iraq, he says,[1] while Iraq is a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause; he concludes with a call to Iraqis to put themselves first, to rebuild their identity and their country, and only then to reach out to help others.

It should be mentioned that Sabi's article joins several articles by Iraqi writers in the past year criticizing the Palestinians. For example, on February 9, 2016, Haidar Jarallah wrote in the online Saudi daily Elaph that the large number of Palestinian suicide bombers in Iraq (which he puts at 1,400) indicates a Palestinian hatred of Iraqis, and prompts speculation over whether the Iraqis should stop sympathizing with the Palestinian struggle and instead normalize relations with Israel.[2] In another article, published July 31, 2015 in the pro-Iranian Iraqi daily Al-Akhbar in response to an attack carried out by a Palestinian in Diyala Governorate, writer Jawad Al-Matayr complained about Palestinian ingratitude for the Iraqis' longtime support, and noted that they had acted the same towards Kuwait, cheering Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of the country in the first Gulf War even though Kuwait had hosted Palestinians for years.[3]

Following are excerpts from Sabi's article:[4]

Haidar Sabi (Image: Al-Zaman, Iraq)

"The Palestinian problem was one of the main reasons for the destruction of Iraq and the ruination of its people! There is not enough space here to detail how and why, but since Iraqis are well versed in this and have the answer, and are completely convinced of it, I will hereby examine our current state and compare [Iraqis and Palestinians]:

"a. The destruction of Iraq or the destruction of Palestine. Are the devastation and destruction afflicting Iraq not as great as the destruction of Palestine? The answer is right before you.

"b. What is the difference between the suffering of these two peoples? Is the Iraqi's suffering greater than the Palestinian's, and is the injustice done to him greater than that done to the Palestinian?

"c. What is the difference between i) a nationality and a people with a heritage, a history, and a culture stretching back thousands of years, which became [a people] devoid of identity, with no one heeding its sons, who have been abandoned, displaced, and exiled to the diaspora; and ii) a nationality whose history was written after the notorious Sykes-Picot Accords and which has developed a known identity, even though it is divided between [PA President] ;Abbas and [Hamas leader] Haniya?

"Where are the Iraqis? What identity have they today, divided as they are among the ideologies of the ruling parties? How many of my people are homeless? How many are impoverished when they were destined to be lords of the land? [The Arab countries] have made us into their defensive wall, to ensure their peoples' safety, and then they call on us to protest for Jerusalem! We are mistreated, marginalized, displaced, abandoned, starving, and oppressed. Who are we, and where is our nationality, as doom envelops us?

"d. As for [the difference] in daily death tolls of Iraqis versus Palestinians, I will merely cite UNAMI (United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq) statistics, according to which Iraq suffered some 2,000 dead and injured in the past month alone! How many Palestinians fell [in this time period]?

"e. What about the quality of life and monthly income [in Iraq versus in Palestine] - based on the assumption that the Iraqis are floating in a lake of oil while the Palestinians haven't one gallon of it in all their land. And yet, we see that in Iraq more [people are under] the poverty line than in Palestine, particularly in recent years.

"f. [What] about how many countries support the Iraqi people [versus] how many provide all manner of aid to the Palestinian people? Furthermore, the entire Arab ummah drinks today from the river of blood that would never have flowed if not for [the Arabs'] regrettable positions and hostility towards the Iraqi people, while the Palestinian is welcome in every Arab country in which he settles, and many billions [of dollars] are showered on them. So which people deserves the support of the masses taking to the streets and protesting [against] its oppression?

"In truth, I believe that those [Arabs] who used money and effort, and recruited young and old to raise their voices and highlight the oppression of Jerusalem were just as free to raise their voices to announce the oppression of their [Iraqi] brothers before exploiting  [the Palestinian issue], on the pretext that it is a necessary and vital position and a responsibility [owed] to their Palestinian brothers who sacrificed their bodies and were torn to shreds to liberate Palestine.

"How many Palestinians have blown themselves up in our midst, and how many Iraqis have they killed? Latest statistics set this at some 1,500 [Palestinian suicide bombers]. Iraq is ours, and Jerusalem belongs to the Jerusalemites, until we define our separate [Iraqi] identity, as we have lost this. Since we became divided, we are now members of this or that sect, or this nationality, or that religion.

"[Only] when Iraq is ours [again] and is run by pure Sumerian and Assyrian Iraqis will we worry about [events] abroad and formulate a plan to support weak peoples. Last among them will be the Palestinian people, as many are far worse off, enslaved in their countries and persecuted by their rulers and their hangmen."




[1] In October 2003, the Iraqi army released data according to which 1,201 Palestinians had carried out suicide operations in Iraq, making them the largest group of foreign suicide bombers, after Saudis, who committed 300 suicide operations., October 30, 2013.

[2], February 9, 2016.

[3] Al-Akhbar (Iraq), July 31, 2015.

[4] Al-Zaman (Iraq), July 3, 2016.

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