Iraq–Israel relations

Iraq–Israel relations

The relationship between Israel and Iraq has been a challenging one since 1948, when Iraq declared war on newly established Israel, since then relations between the two states have remained at best hostile. Iraqi forces attacked Israel in 1948, and 1967 (during the Six Day War), and Iraq fired dozens of Scud ballistic missiles at Israel during the 1991 Persian Gulf War (despite Israel not being involved in that war).

With approximately 250,000 to 400,000 Jews of Iraqi descent in Israel, [ [ THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: REPATRIATION; Iraqi Council Weighs Return of Jews, Rejecting It So Far] ] and 34,000 Palestinian refugees in Iraq, neither countries hold diplomatic relations between each other. [ [ Bill Presses Iraq To Recognize Israel] ]

Israel and Iraqi oil

An oil line was built by the British in the 1940s, which crossed from Western Iraq through Jordan to British-ruled Palestine (today's Israel). Upon the 1948 birth of Israel and the immediate eruption of war with Iraq, Jordan and other Arab neighbours, this forced the shutdown of the oil line and resulted in the diversion of Iraqi oil through a branchline to Syria.Since 1948, Israel and Iraq have been implacable foes. Unlike Egypt, Jordan or Syria, Iraq has never been willing to discuss an armistice with Israel, let alone a peace accord like those Israel signed with Egypt and Jordan-despite some wishful mediation attempts by the United States and other Western countries with business interests in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's presidency.Technically, Baghdad has been in a continious state of war with Israel since 1948. It sent armies to fight Israel in 1948 and 1967, and to back up Syria's defence of Damascus in the October 1973 war.Saddam Hussein was widely revered in Arab nations for his anti-Israel stance and has supported several Palestinian guerilla and militant organisations, and during the last Palestinian intifada, Hussein subsidized families of Palestinian suicide bombers and other activists.Military action was taken by Israel when they bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, fearing that Saddam would use it to develop nuclear weapons. Iraq did not respond until during the Persian Gulf war, in 1991, when Hussein's army fired 39 scud missiles at Israel. However, Israel did not retaliate and no further action was taken from either sides since.

Israel's reaction to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq

According to former US undersecretary of defense Douglas Feith, Israeli officials did not push their American counterparts to initiate the war in Iraq. In an interview with Ynet, Feith stated that "what you heard from the Israelis was not any kind of advocacy of war with Iraq" and that " [w] hat you heard from Israeli officials in private discussions was that they were not really focused on Iraq... [t] hey were much more focused on Iran." [citeweb |url=,2506,L-3542925,00.html |title=Doug Feith: Israel didn't push for Iraq War |publisher=Ynetnews |date=05.13.08]

Any warming in Iraqi-Israeli relations would be a major change in the Middle East's power equation.After the topplement of former president, Saddam Hussein, Israeli officialsWho|date=September 2008 have been rejoicing over the US-led war coalitions elimination of Iraq as a principal strategic foe of the Jewish state.Fact|date=September 2008Now, with Israel prompting the idea to re-establish the pipeline as oil-poor Israel want high quality Kirkuk crude oil for its Haifa refinery, the chances of the proposal being implemented look bleek as Iraqi officials have not agreed to this. Israeli refineries currently use Russian, West African, Egyptian and other crude oils.

Former Iraqi PM, Ayad Allawi said in 2004 that Iraq will not reconcile its differences with Israel. [citeweb |url= |title=Iraq not to establish diplomatic ties with Israel: Allawi |publisher=People's Daily |date=July 27, 2004]

Israeli experts have been reported to be training Kurdish militias in northern Iraq. [ [ BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israelis 'train Kurdish forces' ] ]

On July 1, 2008, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak shook hands with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani at a socialist conference in Greece. [ [ Historic handshake: Barak meets Iraq's president in Athens - Haaretz - Israel News ] ]

ee also

*Arab-Israeli conflict


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