Israeli Center Opened In Baghdad

BAGHDAD, August 16 ( – An Israeli center said to be specialized in Mid Eastern studies was opened in the occupied Iraqi Capital Baghdad, in a provocative move seen by Iraqi academics as the beginning of an Israeli scheme to infiltrate the Iraqi society.

“Israel opened its center on August 1 at a large rented building in Abu Nawaas St. overlooking The Tigris river,” they told Friday, August 15.

The sources, who requested anonymity, said the center has already started operation, noting that it was the first Israeli center operating publicly in Baghdad since its downfall on April 9.

The heavily-guarded building, they said, obtained work permits from the U.S. occupation authority in Iraq and the Pentagon.

The Iraqis sources said the center is affiliated to the Washington- based MEMRI (short for the Middle East Media Research Institute), an Israeli association set up five years ago, with offshoots in London, Berlin and West Jerusalem.

“Superficially, the center follows up Arab newspapers in the Arab world and Europe, particularly London, translates key articles into Hebrew, English, German, French and Italian and circulate them among subscribers, not to mention state-run Israelis institutions,” they clarified.

The sources put at 35,000 the number of subscribers, who receive MEMRI’s services on a daily basis, adding that it is a non-profitable organization and employs dozens in its different offshoots.

“MEMRI receives donations from Jewish and Zionist institutions from all over the world,” they averred.

Brian Whitaker, a Guardian writer, has investigated whether the ‘independent’ MEMRI is quite what it seems.

He wrote on August 12, 2002, that MEMRI is “rather a mysterious organization. Its website does not give the names of any people to contact, not even an office address.”

Whitaker attributed “Memri’s air of secrecy” to those who run it, noting that its co-founder, president and registered owner of its website, “is an Israeli called Yigal Carmon.”

“Mr – or rather, Colonel – Carmon spent 22 years in Israeli military intelligence and later served as counter-terrorism adviser to two Israeli prime ministers, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin.”

The Guardian writer said that based on a retrieved now-deleted page from MEMRI’s website archives, he came across the names of six people, “three – including Col Carmon – are described as having worked for Israeli intelligence.”

He added that another staff “served in the Israeli army’s Northern Command Ordnance Corps.”

According to Whitaker MEMRI’s co-founder is “Meyrav Wurmser, who is also director of the center for Middle East policy at the Indianapolis- based Hudson Institute.

He noted, in this respect that the “ubiquitous Richard Perle, (former) chairman of the Pentagon’s defense policy board, recently joined Hudson’s board of trustees.”

Judging from the e-mails he receives from MEMRI, the Guardian writer concluded that “the stories selected by Memri for translation follow a familiar pattern: either they reflect badly on the character of Arabs or they in some way further the political agenda of Israel. I am not alone in this unease.”

He recalled that Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told the Washington Times: “Memri’s intent is to find the worst possible quotes from the Muslim world and disseminate them as widely as possible.”

Whitaker also challenged MEMRI’s “claims that it does provide translations from Hebrew media, I can’t recall receiving any.”

Foul Play

Dr. Anwar Abdu Aziz, professor of political sciences in Baghdad University, charged that MEMRI and its offshoots have sinister objectives.

“Israel’s underground goals in the Middle East are not a secret; this center is, in effect, a façade for intelligence and security bodies orchestrated by the Mossad (Israel’s intelligence service),” he stressed.

The academic urged the U.S.-handpicked interim Iraqi Governing Council to immediately shut down the Israeli center in Baghdad “because it will penetrate our security.”

For her part, Dr. Soad Bahudin al-Mousli from Al-Rafeden University, said Iraqis have never pronounced the word “Israel” and always referred to it as “the Zionist enemy.”

She wondered: “Who would have imagined that Baghdad would someday host a center serving Israeli plots and schemes?”

Before the ouster of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, Iraq was the only country in the Arab world – if not in the entire world – to sentence anyone who imported Israeli products to capital punishment.

“This is the product of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and reaffirms out conviction that Israel and the United States are two sides of the same coin,” Dr. Mousli underlined.

She further exhorted Iraqis to stand up to this Israeli infiltration, which runs counter to the interests of the Arab nations.

“Arab intelligentsia should expose all hostile Israeli practices,” she said, charging that the U.S. occupation is Israel in disguise.

Famed Palestinian journalist Mohammad Samara regretted the existence of such a center in Baghdad.

“It is breaking our hearts to see the Israeli Mossad in Bahdad, the citadel of Arabs,” Samara lamented.

Retaining some optimism, he said: “We still pin our high hopes on the brave people of Iraq to resist.

“Iraqis and Palestinians will continue to hold the Arab torch of struggle against powers of evil.

“Israel will never fulfill its much-pursued dream of establishing a (Jewish) state from the Euphrates to the River Nile as long as the Arab nation continues to give birth to heroes every day,” Samara said.

Courtesy Raja Mattar

Israel Claims ‘Lost Property’ in Arab Countries