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Opinion
Eli Lake

Why Is Iraq Afraid of Better Relations With Israel?

The regime has been hostile to anyone who attended a conference last week promoting closer ties between the two nations.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi: What is he so afraid of?

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi: What is he so afraid of?

Photographer: Pool/Getty Images Europe

Last week more than 300 leaders of Iraqi civil society gathered in the Kurdish city of Erbil, in northern Iraq, to speak a forbidden truth: Iraq should have normal relations with Israel.

Among the attendees was Wisam al-Hardan, the leader of the Sunni movement known as the “Sons of Iraq,” which aligned with the U.S. military in Western Iraq against al Qaeda. These private citizens called on their government to follow the lead of countries such as Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, which are in the Abraham Accords, and begin negotiations with Israel for full diplomatic relations.