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Israel lifts ban on trade with Iraq amid US-Iranian conflict

Israel's finance minister Moshe_kahlon - Wikimedia Commons - dikla bassist shafrir

Israeli Finance Minister announced lifting a ban on trade with Iraq, although the two countries have very strained relations and no official ties, Israel's Maariv reported.

The minister's directive does not adhere to Israel’s “Trade with Enemy Ordinance” law, which defines enemy states with which trade is forbidden, and which was adopted in 1948.

However, the directive did not change the status of other Middle Eastern countries including Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.

This comes as Iran tries to enhance ties with neighboring Iraq especially political and economic relations, in light of the US-Iranian conflict and threats Iran issues targeting Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Iraq is a firm supporter of the Arab League boycott of Israel. Its passports are not valid for travel to Israel.

Prohibited visits

Three delegations of local leaders from Iraq have reportedly made visits to Israel in recent months, where they held meetings with Israeli officials.

Israel’s foreign ministry said on Twitter that the 15 Iraqi visitors were “influential Shiite and Sunni personalities in the country”, but it did not give names.

A spokesman for the memorial told AFP that “a group of 10 Iraqis” had “undertaken a guided tour in late December.”

Israeli journalist Edy Cohen revealed the names of the Iraqi MPs who allegedly visited Israel amid the state of war between the two countries, among a number of delegations, adding in a previous statement that these delegations were officially representing the Iraqi government.

In a tweet in Arabic, Cohen named the Iraqi lawmakers as Sunni Ahmed al-Jabouri, Ahmed al-Jarba, former MP Abdul Rahim al-Louwaizi and Abdul Rahman al-Shammari, who are all from Nineveh governorate, as well as Khalid al-Mafraji from Kirkuk and female lawmaker Aliaa Nassif, a Shiite from Baghdad.

Iraqi condemnation

Hassan al-Kaabi, first deputy speaker of the parliament, called for “an investigation...to identify those who went to the occupied territory, particularly if they are lawmakers.”

“To go to the occupied territory is a red line and an extremely sensitive issue for all Muslims,” his statement read.

Iraq is a firm supporter of the Arab League boycott of Israel. Its passports are not valid for travel to Israel.

On the other hand, Iraqi politician Mithal al-Alusi called for opening channels with Israel ahead of the unprecedented series of visits that three delegations reportedly made to Israel.

Alusi said that the visits to Israel are secret because they fear groups linked to Iran, al-Qaeda or ISIS eliminating them, adding that this shows that freedom in Iraq is still declining and that citizens fear organized terrorism in the streets.

Last Modified: Wednesday، 29 May 2019 10:24 AM
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