On this day: Iraq attacks Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, January 18, 2011

After the US-lead forces launched Operation Desert Storm, Iraq aimed Scud missiles at the bustling Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.

The move was not unexpected; when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait the previous summer he did so alongside vocal threats to "burn half of Israel". And after Desert Storm began, an Iraqi radio broadcast recorded Hussein proclaiming: “The great duel, the mother of all battles has begun. The dawn of victory nears as this great showdown begins."


On this day: Saddam Hussein is captured

By Jennifer Lipman, December 13, 2010

On March 20 2003 the US-led invasion of Iraq began and within three weeks the Iraqi government had fallen. But while the statue of Iraq’s president Saddam Hussein was famously toppled on April 9, the army’s attempts to hit him with air strikes failed twice and when Baghdad fell his whereabouts were unknown.

In the months after the invasion, rumours of sightings abounded, but it was not until December that he was found in an isolated farmhouse in ad-Dawr near Tikrit.


Jewish Iraq casualty remembered with Kombatika kippah

By Jennifer Lipman, November 12, 2010

The sister of a Jewish soldier from Florida killed in action three years ago has launched a project to provide special kippot to all Jewish American servicemen.

Danny Agami, who was nicknamed “GI Jew”, died after being struck by a roadside bomb during a tour of duty in Iraq in 2007.

The 25-year-old, from Florida, had named his US-Army issued yarmulke the “Kombatika”.


Why Republicans are at the top of Kushner's hit list

By John Nathan, September 7, 2010

To get an instant impression of the subject of this article you could do worse than tap the words "Tony" and "Kushner" into YouTube. There is an eight minute, 57-second video which shows the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright saying thank you for his latest honorary degree.


Comment: Peace talks? Don't get your hopes up

By Gerald M Steinberg, August 26, 2010

Six decades of failed peace efforts have left most Israelis (and Palestinians) deeply skeptical about the prospects for success.

The pattern is familiar - a new American president, faced with major difficulties at home and abroad, hopes that a Middle East peace breakthrough will help solve many of these problems. He squeezes the leaders of both sides, and as neither wants the label of "spoiler", they go along with the charade.

But the efforts fail, as core differences over history, religion (particularly in Jerusalem), borders and sovereignty remain insurmountable.


Peer bids to block Israelis from EU

By Marcus Dysch, August 5, 2010

Crossbench peer Lord Hylton has called on the European Union to bar Israelis from entering Europe without a visa.

He tabled a motion asking for a House of Lords debate shortly before the summer recess, advocating a ban on Israeli goods being sold duty-free.

The motion calls for the Lords "to resolve that the EU should use its powers to prevent access to the EU without a visa by Israeli citizens and to remove duty-free access for Israeli goods if Israeli breaches of international law continue".


Iraq urges return of Jewish documents

By Jessica Elgot, April 30, 2010

Iraq has demanded the return of thousands of Jewish documents, sifrei Torah and Haggadot belonging to the Jewish community in Iraq, which were “rescued” to be restored in the US during the invasion in May 2003.

An Iraqi delegation, led by the country’s deputy minister for culture has now met senior State Department officials in the US to arrange for the documents’ return to Iraq.

But there is also a feeling that the materials should actually be returned to their Jewish owners, most of whom now live in Israel.


Iraq cleric slams plan to turn Jewish tomb into mosque

By Jessica Elgot, April 12, 2010

One of Iraq’s leading clerics, Ayatollah Shaykh Ayad al-Rikabi, has denounced the proposed conversion of the ancient tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel into an Islamic site.

Iraq’s Department of Antiquities and the Iraqi Shi’i “waqf”, which controls religious heritage sites in the country, has stated that the historic tomb does not belong to Iraq’s dwindling Jewish community.

It asserted that since Ezekiel is described in the Koran as a Muslim, the tomb should be declared an Islamic site. Plans are now under way to turn the site into a mosque.


Israeli's chance for Iraq election vote scuppered

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

An Iraqi-born Jewish pensioner was left disappointed after he was unable to vote as an expatriate in the country's general election last weekend.

David Sasson wanted to cast his vote in Wembley, north west London, but his hopes were dashed despite twice queuing for more than five hours.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi expats took part in the election, voting over three days at polling stations in 60 cities worldwide.


The chill in the Chilcot inquiry

By Melanie Phillips, February 4, 2010

In all the stürm und drang over the Chilcot inquiry into the war in Iraq, one feature has so far escaped attention. That is the emphasis placed on Israel’s role in the crisis, not least by the inquiry panel member Sir Roderic Lyne.

To those of us of a nervous disposition, the way Lyne, formerly Our Man in Moscow, has been dragging Israel into the story of what happened in 2003 is more than a little grating.