November 1, 2006, - 2:20 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
While elected Iraqi President Noori Al-Maliki is out to protect Shi’ite terrorist Muqtada Al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army from U.S. troops, there is one light amid the darkness: Mithal Al-Alusi.
Heath Robinson’s piece on Al-Alusi in today’s Wall Street Journal editorial page is cause for a glimmer of hope. If all leaders–or even half of them–in the Muslim world were like the courageous Al-Alusi, we’d be at peace. Both of his sons gave their lives for his democratic ideals and daring to want peace with Israel.
Al-Alusi, a 53-year-old Sunni, is an elected member of the Iraqi Parliament. Surely, there was no-one like him under dictator Saddam Hussein. Al-Alusi
served as director general of the National Commission on de-Baathification. Mr. al-Alusi ran on a platform of religious pluralism, human rights, free markets and a free press. He calls for an alliance among democracies–including the U.S., Iraq, Israel and Turkey–to fight terrorism.
Not only does Mr. al-Alusi champion values many in the West hope will define the new Iraq, he has risked his life–and lost more than his life–for the cause. In September 2004 he attended a counterterrorism conference in Herzliya, Israel; after which insurgents threatened his family. The following February assassins opened fire on Mr. al-Alusi’s car as it approached his Baghdad home. He wasn’t in the vehicle, but his sons, 30-year-old Ayman and 22-year-old Gamal, were. Both were killed as their father watched. Still, Mr. al-Alusi was unbowed. “Even if these terrorists try to kill me again, peace is the only solution,” he told reporters minutes after the attack. “Peace with Israel is the only solution for Iraq. Peace with everybody, but no peace for the terrorists.” He continued to build his Iraqi Nation Party, which his fallen sons had helped establish, and which now has 15,000 members.
He describes his views less in ideological terms than in human ones. “An Iraqi mother, she has the right to have normal feelings for her baby. It’s the same for an Israeli mother,” he told me in a phone interview from Baghdad. “This is the best way to drive the world’s politics. Not to make it complicated.”
Should we abandon a brave guy like this in Iraq? He believes he will be killed, but our leaving Iraq will certainly assure and hasten that move. And then, there’s the Iran angle:
Mr. al-Alusi told me that “Iran is fully involved in terrorist activity in Iraq.” He believes Tehran is playing both sides, backing Sunni terrorists as well as Shiite ones.
Polls suggest a majority of Americans think it was a mistake to enter Iraq. Mr. al-Alusi respectfully disagrees. “We didn’t have any kind of hope, and now, even with all our difficulty, we have hope.” Iraq today is a central front in a war against extremists who view the murder of civilians as political expression. “I will be killed–if not today, tomorrow,” Mr. al-Alusi says. “The point is not me, but children–for a child to be a child, not a killer; for a teenager to be a teenager, not an extremist.”
A brave man, indeed. That he has 15,000 Iraqi followers is good news. If only there were even more.
Tags: Ayman, Baghdad, Debbie Schlussel, director general, elected member, Gamal, Heath Robinson, Herzliya, Iraq, Iraqi Parliament, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Israel Al-Alusi, legislator, Mahdi Army, member, Mithal Al-Alusi, Muqtada Al-Sadr, Nation Party, National Commission, Noori Al-Maliki, President, Saddam Hussein, Shi'ite terrorist, Tehran, Turkey, United States, Wall Street Journal