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What is the real story about Shia reaction?

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بينما تتضارب الانباء حول موقف الشيعه العراقيين من عمليه تحرير العراق.. وخصوصا تجاه الوجود الامريكي. فان هذا العمود

 

سيحاول تغطيه مختلف الاراء

وكنموذج لبعض ما يتردد في مراكز بحثيه واعلام, ندرج الرابط ادناه . نرجوا مساهمتكم في التعليق.

 

http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/csrpl/RINVol...%20Straight.htm

 

As there are many conflicting stories about the real reaction by the Iraqi Shia to the Iraq liberation and especially the American presence.. This article is cover this disturbing issue.

As an example to what some research and media publishing , Please visit the following link:

http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/csrpl/RINVol...%20Straight.htm

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BAGHDAD, Nov. 29 -- Iraq's most powerful Shiite Muslim cleric said in remarks made public Saturday that he opposed key elements of a U.S. plan for a political transition in Iraq and insisted that a provisional government be chosen through elections, challenging the Bush administration's proposal for relinquishing authority by June.

 

{...}

 

Sistani's objections are the latest sign of the clergy's growing influence in Iraq, where Shiite Muslims make up 60 percent of the country's 25 million people. That ascendancy has collided with U.S. ambitions to manage Iraq's transition and maintain influence over a government that will be linked to the United States through the infusion of U.S. aid and an American military presence expected to last for years.

 

from:

Leading Cleric Calls For Elections in Iraq: Sistani Spells Out Objections to U.S. Plan from The Washington Post

 

and

 

Iraqi Governing Council Voices Support for June Elections from The New York Times

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Sistani Position on New Elections

 

The office of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani affirmed Saturday in Najaf that he had reservations about the Nov. 15 plan for caucus type elections. Replying to questions from a newspaper, he said (trans. J. Cole):

 

"First of all, the preparation of the Iraqi State (Basic) Law for the transitional period is being accomplished by the Interim Governing Council with the Occupation Authority. This process lacks legitimacy. Rather the [basic Law] must be presented to the [elected] representatives of the Iraqi people for their approval.

 

Second, the instrumentality envisaged in this plan for the election of the members of the transitional legislature does not guarantee the formation of an assembly that truly represents the Iraqi people. It must be changed to another process that would so guarantee, that is, to elections. In this way, the parliament would spring from the will of the Iraqis and would represent them in a just manner and would prevent any diminution of Islamic law." He added, "Perhaps it would be possible to hold the elections on the basis of the ration cards and some other supplementary information."

 

Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Taskhiri, the representative in Najaf of Iran's Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei, called for an Islamic constitution for Iraq, and said he was sure that Iraq's Shiite leadership was aware of the sensitivity of this historic phase.

 

from:

Posted by Juan Cole at 8:36 AM

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Guest BahirJ

There is a big misunderstanding for the role of Najaf's Hawaza (The Shia Supreme School) and the Shia community in Iraq and there counterpart in Iran. One must understand that the Iraqi Shia's have a totally different view to the Islamic State concept. Iraqis do believe that the Iranian model has its own mistakes and impracticalities. There were, and probably still more than a 1/2 million Iraqi refugees in Iran who learnts and lived the shorfalls and mistakes of the Iranian model and they all insist on a new democratic Iraq built on a democratical system, with a moderate Islamic influence that everyone has a share in its destiny(arabs, kurds, turkumans, shias, sunnis, christians and others)

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BahirJ,

 

That is a valuable and extraordinarily interesting piece of information. I hope I can learn some more of the details and nuances of this region and its religions and culture.

 

I think most of the strategist currently working within the Bush administration may be aware of these differences and nuances of the Shia in Iraq and Iran, but they may not care. This is to suggest that their main concern is the natural and common religion that Iran and Iraq share. Many in the Bush administration (and throughout American history) have an incredible fear of Iran and, no matter how different the two Shia schools of thought may be, they will only see the “natural relationship” This is why they are hesitant to install immediate direct elections?

 

This is why I think some within the Bush administration were desperately trying to install Chalabi. They were convinced that the religious establishment was weak and a secular US installed government would be embraced by Iraqi in gratitude for “liberation” I do not think most of the Bush administration would be comfortable with an Iraqi government that has warm relationships with Iran.

 

 

The Historical & Strategic Context of Western Terrorism in The Gulf

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It's time to talk turkey in Iraq

By Ehsan Ahrari

 

The fact that the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) - the ruling body of Iraq - and the Iraqis are living on entirely different planets was never more vivid than during President George W Bush's "stealthy" surprise visit to Iraq on Thanksgiving Day. As the American media were gloating over the fact that Bush made it to Iraq and back unnoticed and unhampered by any hiccups, influential Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani reiterated that the provisional government of Iraq must be chosen through elections. That development, and the manner in which Bush left for, arrived at, and returned from Iraq, also spoke volumes about the shape of things in that country.

 

[...]

 

As far back as June 28, Sistani made clear his opposition to an unelected body - the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) - writing a constitution. To him, and rightly so, such a modus operandi for creating a new constitution goes against the very grain of democracy. Ironically, the resident of a non-democratic Iraq had to give lessons in democracy to the devout believers in and practitioners of democracy, the CPA, and, through it, the Bush administration. However, there are other reasons why that lesson needed a vocal reiteration on November 30, at a time when the American president was poised to capture the limelight emanating from his secret visit to Iraq.

 

L Paul Bremer, the head of the CPA, was driven by the desire to keep the IGC under control, thereby ensuring the emergence of a Western-style secular democracy in Iraq. Any initiation of the electoral process - a tedious one, indeed, for a highly unstable situation in Iraq - would have jeopardized, even undermined, the American control, and the attendant predilection for shaping the future mode of the Iraqi polity. That was one reason why Bremer stacked the IGC with Iraqi expatriates, who were handpicked largely because they parroted the American preference for secular democracy. However, once those expatriates started undergoing an unwitting process of acculturation to the Iraqi social and political milieu, they became progressively inclined toward favoring Sistani's edict of June. Perhaps a cynical way to look at the change of mind of those expatriates regarding the issue of conducting elections is to depict it as an integral aspect of their own maneuverings for gaining acceptance of the Iraqi populace.

 

more:

Asia Times Online Co, Ltd.

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Guest Muterjem

George,

You may find the real Iraqi reaction to the visit under the Abu Hussian post ..

 

As far as Alsystani.. I don't think his stand with the election is a gainst the American gfinal goals of having a democratic system in Iraq.. It is on the contrary..

This is exactly what the American wants.

 

The question is if they are ready to do it as Alsystany asked..

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George B

 

Thanks for the comment. I think that the Americans now are more aware of the level of moderation Iraqi Shias has despite all the misery they faced in the past from criminals like Saddam Hussien and his thugs.

 

I would like to share with you this transcript Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz remarks at Georgetown University

 

I would like also to quote his empression about one of the Shia leaders Abdul Aziz al Hakim the brother of Moh'md Bakir al Hakim who was killed in the Najaf blast a couple of months ago

 

"But most impressive was his humanity and the conviction with which he spoke of his and his family's commitment to religious freedom. He told about how his recently murdered brother had intervened with Iranian authorities in Iran to permit Iraqi Christian prisoners of war to assemble to celebrate Christmas, and how his brother, a senior Shia cleric, had joined them for Christmas."

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It appears certain to me that many of the assumptions of the Pentagon and State Department, indeed of the entire U.S. government, were flawed, and the situation on the ground in Iraq is much different than they expected to develop. They must now adapt to reality.

I believe the Administration (Bremer, the CPA, all of them) are now not so much afraid of a theocracy developing along the Iranian model (at least not immediately) as they are afraid that the minorities (Sunni and Kurd mostly) will fear the Arab Shia majority, and be afraid to join in a government with them.

In a free nation the major challenges often boil down to two questions. 1) How to prevent a strong and popular leader from taking so much power that the next election never happens. 2) How to protect the rights and secure the cooperation of the minorities.

In the case of Iraq, as it stands, there is the third question of how to get the minorities to join with the majority in the first place, and commit themselves to the new order.

While Al-Sistani's demands for popular vote NOW are consistent with democratic principals, it is not clear to me that he has given sufficient thought to those three problems.

 

(on a related matter)

 

If I may ask a question of Muterjem? You mentioned the "Abu Hussian post" but I did not understand where that was. I would like to understand your position on this. Could you tell me the Subject title where this is posted, or the date and time, or both, so that I may find it?

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Guest Guest_Averroes

I think the situation of incipient Iraqi democracy can be summed up with one writer's quote:

 

"Democracy must be more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner."

 

For democracy to work there must be adequate guarantees for the minorities and, as has been pointed out, guarantees that any election will not be the last. Sounds like some sort of constitution which is then respected by all parties.

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Shall I expect all those who keep teaching us " Democracy is the right of people to rule them selfs" are now telling another.. Democracy is " Allowing others to decide your destinay"..

 

The issue is not having Shia majority rule, because this would never happen under a democratic constitution. The Fedral system would prevent this from happening. Having in mind that the Shia is not the absolute majority..

 

As far as Alsystany.. What his Hukom was saying, is that the constititusion should be written by the real reperesntative of Iraqis, and direct elction by people is the only way that this election can get legitamcy..

Isn't that the basic step one in any real democratic system.. Why not when it comes to Iraq?

As far as non Shia, I think the issue is not being minority. Sunni Kurds have no issue with . Jalal Talabani already talked about reamending the process to comply with Alsystani's demands.. Christains have no objection's ..

The issue is with some Arab Sunni who afraid that such an election would make their dreams of steeling back the Iraqi decition again would be not possible for ever.

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Salim, in my effort to be brief, perhaps I wasn't clear with what I meant by "minorities." I was not necessarily referring to Shia vs. Kurds, and the like. On any issue where a vote can be made, it is possible for "minorities" to be adversely affected. If a majority of farmers arises, they may vote in laws which adversely affect those who live in cities.

 

I should have added that the chief criticism of raw democracy is that it is the "tyranny of the majority." As such, it is tyranny.

 

The American example is a bit different from the present case in Iraq, and tempers our suggestions. In revolutionary America, "townhall" local politics was already well established, and the individual states already had governments which were elected (except for the English governor). Our constitution was formed by representatives of the states. What we think would be ideal is for democracy to emerge in Iraq from the "grassroots," with organization forming at local levels.

 

What we fear is that the majority now could load a constitutional convention and tilt any constitution toward that majority.

 

I agree that having the American-selected GC do it is conter-democracy. I propose a compromise that postpones a country-wide popular vote until after a constitution is formed by elected representatives from all areas of the Iraq. Then there could be a vote on that constitution.

 

Our American prejudice, I think, is that government is a necessary evil, which is dangerous to individual practice of rights, responsibilities, roles, and relationships. As such, it must be reined in. Further, government concentrates power, which provides an obvious target for those who wish to take it over. Thus the necessity for controls to prevent an election from 'being the last election." Remember that Hitler was elected into power, which he was able to shape to his tyrannical ends.

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Averroes "I agree that having the American-selected GC do it is conter-democracy. I propose a compromise that postpones a country-wide popular vote until after a constitution is formed by elected representatives from all areas of the Iraq. Then there could be a vote on that constitution."

 

 

That is exactly what most people in Iraq asking for.. The issue is about if we are going "to elect or to appoint" those who would right the constitution..

 

 

There is no notion of having a majority Shia making the constitiution going to their side.. The Constitution passing would need the voting of absolute majority.. And shia are not..

So why we make a big deal of it and not getting the real represtation of people rather than appointing them.

 

If we start it with an illegel basis today, they later, some one would come and have this as excuse to retreat from..

That is what Alsistany was refering to.

I personally don't find election the best way, but I would go for it as the only long standing solution. That is of course having the final approval in the hand of Absolute majority to the constitution.

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Salim, thank you for your reply. You are quite sure of some things that those of us outside of iraq are not so sure of. I keep seeing figures that put Shia Muslims at 55-70% of the population. Lacking a census....

 

You say: "There is no notion of having a majority Shia making the constitiution going to their side." We in America do not like such assurances. My German-Arab friend tells me that he is happy with laws in Germany which take away free speech because the government promises not to abuse them. Americans believe that governments will and do abuse laws which give them powers. So, we look on Shia assurances with suspicion, not because they are Shia, but because we perceive them to be numerous enough to maybe take control of politics.

 

Also realize that the American states had functioning democracy in all states in 1781, when we won our freedom from Britain. Our first constitution resulted in a failed government. Our present constitution wasn't completed until 1789, and the government it spawned didn't result until 1792. We think that slow without mistakes is better than fast with mistakes that result in the need to completely redo the constitution. And, yes, we are being a bit paternalistic here, as we were in Japan and Germany. Both of those countries took several years to develop their present democracies. We are, forgive me, a bit like parents launching their children, wishing them maximum independence but fearing for their mistakes.

 

But, from the point of view of Americans, the worst thing that could have happened in Iraq is if the Iraqis just rolled over and acquiesed in everything that the Coalition wanted. Instead, we are overjoyed that there is a cry for iraqis to take the reins of government and fend for themselves as quickly as possible. It is only among such people that democracy is possible.

 

You note: "If we start it with an illegel basis today, they later, some one would come and have this as excuse to retreat from" Their is much wisdom in this remark.

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