Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani former Iraqi Parliament speaker said that while Iraq did maintain a certain political normalization with Israel via the Americans since 2003, Iraqis reject direct normalization with Israel, as they reject the American presence in the country. He made these remarks on Asia TV (Iraq) on February 1, 2021. Al-Mashhadani explained that Israel seeks normalization with Iraq in order to fragmentize it, and Iraqis have an "Israel complex," so they will never accept normalization with Israel. He said that if Iraqi leaders follow the UAE's path and normalize relations with Israel, they will be lynched. For more about Al-Mashhadani, see MEMRI TV clips Nos. 8250 and 1618.
Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani: "There has been normalization since 2003. Full stop!"
Interviewer: "Since 2003?"
Al-Mashhadani: "Of course. What about the Americans? How are they different from Israel?"
Interviewer: "But normalization with Israel is a different matter. See the UAE and Egypt..."
Al-Mashhadani: "It was one in secret, but now they want it to be out in the open. It's like a guy dating a girl in secret, and then she says: 'Enough! Go to my father and ask for my hand.' We have been doing it in secret, and now it should be out in the open. Just because we are weak... It's over. The other side won't have it anymore. They say: No more pleasantries. No more doing things in secret. You will have to do it out in the open. Israel is the complex of the Iraqis. I swear, there will be no normalization with Israel so long as a single Iraqi is still alive."
Interviewer: "But you said that the normalization has been going on since 2003..."
Al-Mashhadani: "I meant political normalization done through the Americans, not directly by us. We are not engaged in such normalization. When an MP visited Israel, we expelled him from parliament. Right now, the Iraqis reject the American presence, so surely they will not accept normalization with Israel. The Iraqis have an Israel complex and Israel has an Iraq complex.
"The normalization of Israel's relations with the Gulf countries focuses on economy, tourism, and exchange of benefits, but in our case, they want to normalize relations in order to fragmentize Iraq.
"If we follow the path of the UAE and normalize relations with Israel, [Iraqi leaders] will be lynched out on the street the following day."