Friday, December 02, 2005

Israelis have landed in northern Iraq

Yesterday, Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Israeli firms are involved in commercial and military training activities in Kurdish areas in Iraq.

Hmm. Very interesting.

An article in the Guardian states that

. . . Israelis are regularly seen in the Kurdish towns of northern Iraq, working as security guards and trainers. It is not clear whether they work for international security firms or are doing independent work.

Israelis representing private firms were seen looking for opportunities at a recent trade fair in Irbil. Yesterday's report also stated that Israeli companies had set up a base in a remote area of Kurdistan, using it for weapons and anti-terrorism training and bringing in "dozens of motorcycles, sniffer dogs, Kalashnikov-upgrading devices, flak jackets, uniforms and helmets, all Israeli-made". It claims Israelis pose as agricultural and engineering experts.

Ok, I don't want to gratuitously get a jibe in at Israel, but the whole situation seems pretty darn sketchy. I mean, what are they doing posing as agricultural and engineering experts? Come on. And last I heard, and as the Guardian article reaffirms, Israel and Iraq are still "at war."

It's just a little too strange that Israel appears to have this policy of involvement while at the same time it makes absolutely no effort to make itself more likeable regionally. Why it doesn't is the gajillion-dollar question that weighs on the minds of pretty much everyone I ever met in the Middle East.


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