September 25th, 2008
11:48 AM ET

Dead man walking

After visiting Israel, an Iraqi Parliamentarian, Mithal Al-Alusi, faces death threats.
After visiting Israel, an Iraqi Parliamentarian, Mithal Al-Alusi, faces death threats.
Cal Perry
International Correspondent

I knew that Mithal Al-Alusi (an Iraqi member of Parliament) was controversial before I sat down with him: but I had no idea how open and transparent he would be. The man has traveled from Iraq to Israel twice – for counter-terrorism conferences.

Between his first and second trip, his two sons died in an attack that was targeting the minister. It seemed clear to me, from his answers that because his sons were dead – he had lost the one thing that meant the world to him. And he was going to take his belief: that Iraq and Israel can learn from each other all the way to the end – even if it meant he, eventually would be killed.

It was one of those rare interviews – where the back and forth flowed perfectly. I could not believe the answers that I was getting to my questions.

Why did you travel to Israel first in 2004, I asked …

“My God, Why not,” he answered… “Let me tell you – nobody knew I was Iraqi, because I look like them. So they told me sometimes because of my language, from – where are you? I said, from Iraq. Are you sure you’re from Iraq? Oh … well, welcome to Israel,” he said to me.

I was so stunned at some of his answers it would take me a brief moment to ask the next question.

“How many times have they tried to kill you,” I asked.

“14 … I think … it will be 15 … it doesn’t matter” he replied.

It will be 15 – I’m quite sure.

Because Iraq is not a place that welcomes relations with Israel. I tried to explain to him that I am currently based in Beirut – and even though I travel to Israel frequently, my friends in Beirut would never believe that this man continues to go there.

A point that was lost on Mr. Al-Alusi.

He said near the end of the interview, “Look – I don’t have a weapon, I don’t use a weapon.”

After the interview was completed – I saw him reach into a bowl on his desk, take out a pistol and shove it in the back of his pants …

Maybe a white lie – from a man who certainly has a giant target on his back.

Filed under: Cal Perry • Global 360° • Iraq • Israel
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Cindy

    This just goes to show you that when someone wants to bring peace to a country and rid it of terrorist that there will always be people out there trying to fight it. At least Al Alusi isn't backing down and keeps on with his mission. Hopefully he'll survive number 15 and beyond.


    September 25, 2008 at 12:11 pm |