A story like this is deflating. Just when Iraq is making marked progress and seems to be turning a corner, we're reminded how far that country still has to go. Here's more, from the Jerusalem Post:
First his two sons were murdered. Now he faces prosecution. The reason for Mithal al-Alusi's troubles? Visiting Israel and advocating peace with the Jewish state - something Iraq's leaders refuse to consider.
The Iraqi is at the center of a political storm after his fellow lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to strip him of his immunity and allow his prosecution for visiting Israel - a crime punishable by death under a 1950s-era law. Such a fate is unlikely for al-Alusi, though he may lose his party's sole seat in parliament.
Because he had visited Israel, many Iraqis assume the maverick legislator was the real target of the assassins who killed his sons in 2005 while he escaped unharmed.
Now he is in trouble for again visiting Israel and attending a conference a week ago at the International Institute for Counterterrorism.
"He wasn't set to speak, but he was in the audience and conversed with a lecturer on a panel about insurgency and terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel," said conference organizer Eitan Azani. "We didn't invite him. He came on his own initiative."
Al-Alusi has a German passport, allowing him to travel without visa restrictions imposed on other Iraqis. Lawmakers accused him of humiliating the nation with a trip to the "enemy" state.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor called the reaction to al-Arusi's visit "very distressing" and said it was sad this was the response to someone who merely visited Israel and was interested in a dialogue with it.
"It is very unfortunate that the reaction was so violent and aggressive," he said. "It adds nothing."
As long as elements of sharia law are enshrined in the Iraqi and Afghan constiutions and the Arab world remains openly hostile towards Israel, we'll see more incidents of this nature--even as Iraq inches ever slowly towards some semblance of democracy (though certainly not the type we enjoy here in the West).