Friday, July 4, 2008

That handshake thing again

Posturing by Iraqi politicians? Or something else?

Several members of the Iraqi parliament called on President Jalal Talabani on Friday to apologize for shaking hands with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at a conference in Greece this week.

Talabani, a Kurd, was introduced to Barak by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at a Socialist International meeting near Athens on Tuesday, where they shook hands.

The handshake, largely ignored by Iraq's media but covered in the Israeli press, sparked heated debate in Iraq's parliament on Thursday.

Like most Arab countries, Iraq does not recognize Israel. Some members accused Talabani of breaking Iraqi law, although it was unclear what the law says about Israel.

"I told the speaker it was a slap in the face for the Iraqi people," said Ahmed al-Massoudi, from the movement of anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. "(The handshake) was a violation of law," He told Reuters.

We've seen this before. And then there's this.