If I had written in this column a month ago that more than 300 prominent Iraqis, Sunni and Sh'ia, tribal leaders and even government officials, were going to meet in Erbil, capital of the Kurdish Autonomous Region (KRG) and vote for a public declaration urging the government in Baghdad to normalize relations with Israel and join the Abraham Accords countries, and that all of this had been organized and coordinated by an obscure American NGO, which doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry, you would have been justified in looking for me in the nearest insane asylum, under 24-hour surveillance.
But it happened. There is no way that it could have taken place unless the participants had an ironclad promise of support and protection from a credible source, for which the NGO was acting as a front. When the totally predictable reactions took place, including repudiation by the government, firings, arrests, and death-threats from the Iranian-backed militias, it became obvious that no protection or even strong verbal support was to be forthcoming from any quarter. Under the circumstances it is hardly surprising that some of the participants began to backtrack, saying that they had misunderstood the declaration.
And the media went on to other things, and most of the public also. But three hundred plus is a lot of people to have all lost their minds simultaneously. They were called "courageous" - under the circumstances foolhardy would be much more appropriate. Who was responsible? A US government agency? An Israeli government agency? Some sort of powerful and wealthy private organization?
We are waiting for answers. We continue to wait.
Dr. Norman Bailey is professor of Economic Statecraft at the Galilee International Management Institute, and adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. Dr. Bailey was a senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration and of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 12, 2021
Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021