A member of the Economic and Investment Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, Mahmoud Al-Zajrawi, said he believes the country's financial crisis is "fabricated" in an effort to force Baghdad to normalise relations with Israel.
In an interview with Arabic Post news site, Al-Zajrawi explained that the government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has asked the Parliament's permission to borrow 41 trillion Iraqi dinars ($12.6 billion) from national banks to pay the salaries of state employees, adding that he does not rule out the possibility that the financial crisis in Iraq, such as delaying the payment of state-employees' salaries, and resorting to borrowing, being a means of external pressure aimed at paving the way for Israel to sign a peace agreement with Baghdad.
He added that the United States and some European and Gulf countries are trying to provide assistance to Iraq in return for normalising its relations with Israel.
In October, a report by the US-based Inside Arabia website revealed that Iraq is facing pressure from American officials to normalise ties with the occupation state.
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The reports said: "The normalization of relations between Israel and Gulf countries will soon include more Middle Eastern and Arab states. The biggest trophy would be the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, but the greatest geopolitical prize would be a diplomatic breakthrough between Israel and Iraq."
According to the report, "Iraq, which needs investments and funds to offset sharply lower oil revenues and rising social discontent, could be "bribed" into following in the footsteps of Bahrain and the UAE, affecting the future of Iran-Iraq relations in Washington's direction."
The report quoted the leader of Iraq's secular Umma Party, Mithal Al-Alusi, as saying that Baghdad should follow the UAE's example by establishing diplomatic ties with Israel, noting that Iraqi leaders had already been in contact with the Israelis despite being wary of Iranian influence.