Monday, May 22, 2006
You can take the Arab out of the jihad, but...Iraq sends official representative to Arab League's Israel boycott conference.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Bush Administration and a number of members of Congress were upset at the Iraqi government sending an official representative to this week's meeting of the Arab League's Israel Boycott Office in Damascus, Syria.
Representatives from 14 Arab countries met there this week to discuss ways of ramping up the Arab embargo against Israel. Among those taking part were delegates from several so-called US allies, such as the UAE, Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.
The boycott goes on in spite of strict US laws prohibiting American companies from dealing withnations that participate in the economic boycott of a US ally..or provisions of the WTO treaty that Saudi Arabia signed to become a member, with the Bush administrations heavy backing.
Tom Casey, a spokesman for the US State Department, told the Post that Washington was unhappy with Iraq's participation.
"We are disappointed by the decision of the Iraqi government to attend this meeting, and will be noting our concerns with Iraqi officials," he said. "We have raised this issue with Iraqi officials in the past and expect to raise it with them again."
"The US position on the Arab League boycott is well known," Casey noted, adding that "perpetuation of the Arab League boycott does greatest harm to those who participate in it by hampering their efforts to develop their economies."
Perhaps we in the US should help the Iraqis and others do the right thing by making our aid and/or our arms sales conditional on withdrawing from the illegal boycott.
Don't hold your breath.
Several members of Congress were also not too pleased at the Iraqi decision, but probably not to the extent of demanding that the administration do anything concrete about it. Hey, if the Bush Administration was willing to let the UAE manage our ports even though they rigidly adhere to the anti-Israel boycott, why should anyone expect any real pressure on the Iraqis from them?
As a side note, many of the troops I've spoken to who have been in Iraq have related that some Iraqis, especially in Baghdad, refer to the Americans routinely as `the Jews', as in "You can't go down that road right now...the `Jews' set up a roadblock there."
Just lovely. Bush may end up completing his nation-building project in Iraq..but we may not get much out of it besides `thanks for your time and your money..now get the hell out and let us bond with our ummah buddies.'