Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Saddam, Islamic Iraq...

Washed with the warm glow of a moral victory following the Iraqi Elections the neo-cons should remember that Islam can win in free and fair elections.

A extremely well written article:

Summary below:

Cricket is allowed but chess is "absolutely forbidden". Women may not shake hands with men. Music is permitted but only if it is not for enjoyment. Men cannot pray when wearing earrings.

These are the views of the most powerful man in Iraq. After the US invasion, various American officials and generals believed they occupied this position. They turned out to be wrong. As the election victory of the Shias has confirmed, the most influential figure in Iraq, dressed in tattered gray robe and black turban, is Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

In politics he is a moderate. He opposes the US occupation but has not issued a call to oppose it in arms. It was his determination that Iraqis must be allowed to vote which forced the US, after prolonged prevarication, to agree to an election. It was under his auspices that the United Iraqi Alliance, combining diverse parties, mostly Shia, was formed. It is likely to win at least half the vote.

US officials have been quick to insist just how different the Iraqi Shia clergy are from their Iranian equivalents. Vice-President Dick Cheney said over the weekend that "the Iraqis have watched the Iranians operate for years and create a religious theocracy that has been a dismal failure". Mr. Cheney vaguely implied that Iraqi Shia religious leaders believed in the separation of church and state. It is true that the ayatollah and his school of religious thinking do not believe that clerics should rule directly, taking over positions in government. But they do not really have to. The victorious religious parties, mostly led by laymen, are quite capable of setting up an Islamic state on their own.

Iraq could be on the verge of seeing the greatest setback to women's rights in the Middle East since Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran in 1979. Laws on marriage, divorce and inheritance could be changed in favor of men. Under Islamic law, daughters inherit less than the sons.
No surprise there.. The Shia clerics have long held that any constitution for Iraq would adhere to Islamic principles and enshrine sharia as its base..

This calls for limited freedoms for women and non-believers.. etc. etc...can't see the disaffected and angry Sunnis who are a minority or who decided to boycott the vote will be too upset at that turn of events being Muslims after all..

even though the election process called for guaranteed minimum seats for females.. they'll not have any say or sway,..just look at how effective that same proviso was in the Afghan elections...

Only hope is that the strong Kurd minority will block some of the more offensive restrictions [ or allow them to call it quits and form their own country -which is what they've sought all along ]..

Bottom line is that Dubya et al are biting lots of nails and gnashing teeth over what's to come.. they've got to swallow hard and say " Its what the Iraqi people want, not what America wants.." all smiles, and such..



Book Reviewer
But at least they had the choice this time. Also, it is very unlikely, given the impact of the Kurds and Sunnis, that there will be any chance of imposing anything like Sharia law on the Country.

Also, I seem to recall many rules that Chistian theologians have 'omposed' in the past, that are now gone - no meat on Fridays, not allowing adultery, etc.

Finally, he likes Cricket, so that makes him a Good Egg in my book.

The Kurds are more likely to walk away (as they did with $1.4Bn of US tax payers money) set up their own theifdom and agitate and eventaully urine off one of their neighbours....As long at they take the Rt Hon Anne Clwyd with them i'll be happy. She is one barking lady...
Typical left wing twaddle from the Independent, trying to find a dark cloud within a silver lining. They conveniently failed to mention that women presumably make up 50% of iraq and have a vote too.
OldSnowy said:
But at least they had the choice this time.
I agree with you! It was about as democratic as you could expect and the people have had their say. I think it is quite important fact that this bloke is not a radical west hating Iranian type. Did anyone actually expect anything different, these people ARE devout in their religion and see their religious leaders as, well, leaders!
I am happy with the democratic process, but i'll wait out, less concerned about his beliefs, more concerned what he will tell GWB to with his 13 permanant bases in Iraq.

I smell a shah 9of Iran) type fcuk up coming with the CIA or similiar ilk marginalising Sistani and then finding that Sadr or another Ayattollah appearing in his place.
Whilst I don't share Jailer's cynicism about Iraq, I do agree that the temptation in Dubya's court to 'manipulate' affairs in Iraq will become overpowering.

How long will they be able to sit on their hands, while 'their country' that they 'saved' from Saddam, turns from a broadly pro-Western nation (which exports cheap oil) to a determined pro-Iraq nation (which makes people pay the going rate for oil)?

Iraq has gone from being one of the most unpleasant nations in that part of the world to one of the more enlightened. Let's just hope that Dubya's clowns don't fall prey to overweaning desire to 'meddle and improve'. It isn't perfect in Iraq, but then neither is the UK! :D

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