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Iraq elections in 3 weeks.... - Page 2

post #41 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
I see, now we're going to go off and hide in semantics. Okay.

It is readily apparent that Syria and Iran (among others) are putting significant pressure on the Iraq situation. This is more of a regional fight for dominance than I first suspected. I don't understand the insistence that Iraq -- from WMD to "the insurgency" -- be spoken of as if it were in a vacuum.

This will go alot faster if you'd just agree with me.

Ok, time for simplification. This is how I see it - you just tell me the bits you disagree with. That is to say: if you disagree, tell me where and why - it's called debate. It's fun. Ok:

Syria is Ba'athist secular - predominantly Marxist in the old guard but Asad himself being Alawite Sunni in terms of lineage.

Iran is Shi'i.

Let's assume we can agree they won't be co-operating or supporting the same groups, if support there be (I hope we can agree on that or there's REALLY no point).

Any support from Syria will not be at governmental level but will only be from sympathisers with the insurgents. These are few, mainly because they are imprisoned, tortured and killed when found but some exist, I grant you.

So, these are at risk of detection from the US, Iraqis and Syria. If they are interfering it will be to promote Sunni Jihadi groups. But there are few of these.

Obl and Zarqawi cells are active (let's say for arguments sake) but these are Wahabi (ie Saudi) and will not be supported by the Syrian groups if they exist. In fact I can think of only one Syrian group - the Muslim Brotherhood, and that is all but extinct there.

The question of Syria as a 'safe haven' for non-Syrian insurgent cells is a different one and imo highly unlikely - for the simple reason that Asad knows he is next on Bush's hitlist and will not give the US the slightest pretext to invade. He will find these groups in a second and destroy them. Unless you think he is stupid in which case the debate stops there.

Iran: Sistani already has the Shi'i vote wrapped up. He also has the US on side, for now. There's nowhere else to go. Why would Iran interfere ? He will win hands down - even if the Sunnis vote. Which they won't.

So, why would Iran risk interfering in a vote that a Shi'i cleric is a dead cert for ? And how would they 'interfere' ?

Arming cells ? Funding insurgents ? Problems here - Sistani is working with the US to root out the insurgents - it is solely down to him that the Shi'i have not risen against the US. They may want to but he says no. The only person who ever disobeyed that fatwa was as-Sadr and Sistani sorted him out when the US couldn't.

Sistani has too much power for anyone to be successful at a rebellion if he doesn't want it. Iran know that. He has too much power for them even, he it THE major Shi'i figure and he disagrees in part with Iranian clerics.

So, what you say is not true. It could easily become true - I believe it will when the elections fail and if subsequently Sistani takes the reins off his followers. But it isn't true now.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
post #42 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Let's not turn this into a "social conservatives" thing. Social conservatives are not the only ones that want to restrict rights in this country. Andthey don't always want to restrict rights. The bottom line is about anyone that wants to restrict the rights of minorities.

OK, but it just seems to map on to this democracy vs. constitution issue. But this is about Iraq rather than the US, and I do agree with you that rushing into democracy is probably a bad thing, and in particular a bad thing for the US, but also for Iraqi minorities.

The plan in Iraq is to have this interim constitution replaced by a new one after the elections. The elected people will put the new one in place. That seems backwards to me. They should have a constitution, and then elect people.

What if they elect people who say "let's not have any civil liberties!" or "let's have ourselves a theocracy!"

But maybe there are certain provisions in this interim constitution that must remain, I don't know.
post #43 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
OK, but it just seems to map on to this democracy vs. constitution issue. But this is about Iraq rather than the US, and I do agree with you that rushing into democracy is probably a bad thing, and in particular a bad thing for the US, but also for Iraqi minorities.

The plan in Iraq is to have this interim constitution replaced by a new one after the elections. The elected people will put the new one in place. That seems backwards to me. They should have a constitution, and then elect people.

What if they elect people who say "let's not have any civil liberties!" or "let's have ourselves a theocracy!"

But maybe there are certain provisions in this interim constitution that must remain, I don't know.

Agreed on the odd ordering of things. Let's hope we can get out of this downward (over 50 years now) spiral.
post #44 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
Ok, time for simplification. This is how I see it - you just tell me the bits you disagree with. That is to say: if you disagree, tell me where and why - it's called debate. It's fun. Ok:

Syria is Ba'athist secular - predominantly Marxist in the old guard but Asad himself being Alawite Sunni in terms of lineage.

Iran is Shi'i.

Let's assume we can agree they won't be co-operating or supporting the same groups, if support there be (I hope we can agree on that or there's REALLY no point).

Any support from Syria will not be at governmental level but will only be from sympathisers with the insurgents. These are few, mainly because they are imprisoned, tortured and killed when found but some exist, I grant you.

So, these are at risk of detection from the US, Iraqis and Syria. If they are interfering it will be to promote Sunni Jihadi groups. But there are few of these.

Obl and Zarqawi cells are active (let's say for arguments sake) but these are Wahabi (ie Saudi) and will not be supported by the Syrian groups if they exist. In fact I can think of only one Syrian group - the Muslim Brotherhood, and that is all but extinct there.

The question of Syria as a 'safe haven' for non-Syrian insurgent cells is a different one and imo highly unlikely - for the simple reason that Asad knows he is next on Bush's hitlist and will not give the US the slightest pretext to invade. He will find these groups in a second and destroy them. Unless you think he is stupid in which case the debate stops there.

Iran: Sistani already has the Shi'i vote wrapped up. He also has the US on side, for now. There's nowhere else to go. Why would Iran interfere ? He will win hands down - even if the Sunnis vote. Which they won't.

So, why would Iran risk interfering in a vote that a Shi'i cleric is a dead cert for ? And how would they 'interfere' ?

Arming cells ? Funding insurgents ? Problems here - Sistani is working with the US to root out the insurgents - it is solely down to him that the Shi'i have not risen against the US. They may want to but he says no. The only person who ever disobeyed that fatwa was as-Sadr and Sistani sorted him out when the US couldn't.

Sistani has too much power for anyone to be successful at a rebellion if he doesn't want it. Iran know that. He has too much power for them even, he it THE major Shi'i figure and he disagrees in part with Iranian clerics.

So, what you say is not true. It could easily become true - I believe it will when the elections fail and if subsequently Sistani takes the reins off his followers. But it isn't true now.


Interesting and detailed.

But this is not what I'm hearing -- which in some respects is more general -- I'll look at what you have posted and give it a think.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #45 of 46
First let me compliment all (most) here in this thread, for maintaining civil debate. Very informative and thought provoking thread.

I think that none of us know exactly what power struggles are happening right now in Iraq, and the region.

We do know that there was a "catastrophic" victory, as admitted by this admin - meaning there is a huge power vacuum as a result of the quick and decisive military success.

Common sense and some critical thinking results in the conclusion that with SH and his totalitarian dictatorship out of the way, groups that would normally not even be in contention now are.

Who is to say what alliances have resulted from that vacuum? I am going to stretch a bit and say none of us that don't live in the region.

Until Iraqi leadership is in place and flexing it's political muscles, the power struggle will continue.
post #46 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Interesting and detailed.

But this is not what I'm hearing -- which in some respects is more general -- I'll look at what you have posted and give it a think.

Well, I will try and dig out some objective links for you. Not easy to find but Juan Cole is probably the best- although I do not personally find him radical enough his knowledge of the ME region and Shi'ism in particular is second to none. I guess he's the leading academic in that field right now.

He says some interesting things about Sistani today btw.

Also I forgot to add in the previous post that another problem is that PM Alawi was chosen by the Americans and is viewed as a stooge. The US choosing him in itself is not so much a problem but the fact that he is an ex-Saddam henchman (who DOES have blood on his hands and everybody knows it) and a Ba'athist is.

This was a golden opportunity for the US. Imo they lost it right there. If they'd come up with a popular candidate - one who was non-Ba'ath, and a religious moderate, then things would have been very different. Why did they do it ? Was it just that there was no-one else ?

Anyway, some will vote for him (Saddam supporters) but many, many more will vote against as a statement, and of course violent tensions will arise between these groups.

I don't think our positions are that different in reality. We both despise Saddam , the Taleban and the Saudis et al, though probably for vastly different reasons. It isn't even really a question of the method of dealing with it that we disagree on but more the root causes.

I'm just arguing the nuances, on the bigger picture we'd probably agree more than you think.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
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