An Iraqi politician has called for his country to make peace with Israel, while branding Iran "insane" and blaming the Arab and Muslim world for creating ISIS by fomenting "a mentality of vengeance and nullification of the other."
Mithal Al-Alusi, a Sunni Muslim and leader of the Iraqi Ummah Party, made his comments in an interview with the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai earlier this month.
In the wide-ranging interview, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Al-Alusi – who has visited Israel several times in the past – said he dreamed of Iraq opening an embassy in Israel.
"Yes. Israel is a state and I support peace with it," he said, when asked if he supported "normalization" with the Jewish state.
"I want to see an [Iraqi] embassy [in Israel] and the Iraqi flag flying atop it. This is in our interest. I do not want to tie our interests [solely] to Abu Mazen," he added, referring to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.
In contrast, Al-Alusi had some sharp words for Iran, whose Shia Islamist leadership has wielded an increasingly strong influence over Iraqi politics over the past several years.
"It is the most insane actor, which gambles with the lives of its sons, its people, and its history in order to [realize] the Iranian leaders' false vision," he said.
"It is inconceivable that Iran will control the region someday, and it does not have the power to do so," he insisted.
But his strongest words were reserved for the fight against ISIS – which he branded "the disease of this generation."
Following the jihadists' takeover of vast swathes of Iraq last year the country has teetered dangerously close to becoming a failed state. Even as some limited territory is clawed back from ISIS, the radical Islamist group has captured new areas in both Iraq and Syria, while setting its sights on other neighboring countries.
Yet while ISIS's main victims have been other Muslims who do not submit to its rule and interpretation of Islam, Al-Alusi insisted the wider Arab and Muslim world were to blame for its inception by tolerating and even encouraging hatred and extremism.
"This crisis is not only Iraq's. We must fight our internal mentality – the mentality of vengeance and nullification of the other [that] created ISIS, the criminal terrorist organization that harms Islam and that committed a criminal terrorist act in Kuwait against our Kuwaiti sons, friends, neighbors, and brothers, and the [terrorist] actions in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere," he said, referring to a recent bombing at a Kuwaiti mosque.
He also rejected out of hand conspiracy theories harbored by many Muslims that ISIS is a creation of Israel or the western state to make Islam "look bad."
"It is our creation, not a Western or European or Crusader or Jewish or Israeli creation. It is a creation of the Arabs and Muslims, because we have failed to protect our society and have allowed these extremist views –to exist]," he said.