Normalization of relations between Iraq and Israel is a topic that’s coming up a lot more often of late. And this is giving rise to many new voices, both for and against such a move.
A couple of months ago, 300 prominent Iraqis, including government officials, gathered in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, to demand peace with Israel. See: Arrest Warrants Issued for Iraqis Who Called for Peace With Israel
But before that, back in 2019, a political movement coinciding with widespread popular demonstrations over worsening economic conditions rose under the banner of the “October 25 Movement.” The movement’s leader, Talal Hariri, labeled it a secular movement whose primary aim is full separation of religion and state in Iraq.
In interviews with both Iraqi and Israeli media, Hariri also demanded that Baghdad make peace with Jerusalem. This angered many others on his side of the political aisle, who are likewise fighting to eliminate corruption in Iraq, but who have no affinity for the Jewish state.
Most Iraqis want peace with Israel
Speaking to Israel Today, Talal Hariri stressed that the political platform of the October 25 Movement is crystal clear: “We advocate the establishment of complete peace with Israel on a social level and not only political-diplomatic relations. The city of Abraham (Ur of the Chaldees) is located right here in southern Iraq, and it can become a beacon of spiritual unity in the region.”
Hariri noted that there are some two million displaced Iraqi Jews who can act as an immediate bridge between the two nations.
One of the reasons for seeking closer relations with Israel is Hariri’s firm believe that Iraq needs to free itself from the influence and intervention of Iran.
“We are the first registered political project to openly oppose Iran,” he said, adding that “these ideas have earned me death threats from Iran-backed militia groups, which prompted me to move from Baghdad to the Kurdistan Region for my own safety.”
That’s all well and good, but aren’t Hariri and those who think like him in regards to Israel, only a small minority in Iraq? Not at all, he insisted: “About 70 percent of Iraqis support normalization and the establishment of relations with Israel.”