Skip to comments.Rumfeld's Rejection Of Islamic State Angers Shias
Posted on 04/25/2003 4:21:24 PM PDT by blam
Rumsfeld's rejection of Islamic state angers Shias
By Phil Reeves in Baghdad
26 April 2003
Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of State, will have won plaudits from his zealous friends by declaring that an "Iranian-style" Islamic government "is not going to happen" in Iraq. But his words fell on stony ground outside the al-Muhsen mosque in Baghdad yesterday.
Members of the huge Shia crowd gathered for Friday prayers were quick to spot the contradiction in his position.
"I thought the Americans said they wanted a democracy in Iraq," said Kassem al-Sa'adi, a 41-year-old merchant. "If it is a democracy, why are they allowed to make the rules?"
About 13,000 people gathered outside the mosque where the imam, Jabal al-Khafji called for an Islamic state in Iraq. The cleric's view is widely shared by Iraq's Shia majority which is clamouring for the occupying forces to be removed.
Dr al-Khafji said that no political alliances should be formed by Shia groups unless it was with Islamic groups. Islam must dictate all policy-making, he added.
Any move to an Iranian-style Shia Islamic state would also be opposed by the Kurds, the Iraqi secular intelligentsia and the Sunni minority. Yet pressure is building. Iran is quietly at work in Iraq's Shia community, with intelligence agents reportedly active in the south. The Iranian-backed Badr militia has been asserting itself in border towns.
The millions of Shias who gathered this week in the holy city of Karbala served as a warning to the US that it must find some way of accommodating the clerics. A move in that direction was evident yesterday on the streets.
Patrolling the worshippers was a band of Iraqi policemen wearing freshly pressed uniforms, moustaches and nervous frowns. They are members of the old civil police force. They played a mundane walk-on part in the regime's apparatus but their appearance was enough to set off alarm bells.
These men had been re-packaged in an effort to ease their passage into one of the most sensitive parts of the new Iraq. It was also a tentative attempt to bring the Shias under the larger umbrella of the still-unformed government and its law enforcement agencies. Only a few carried pistols, and these were hidden.
All wore labels stating their rank and in an effort to establish their legitimacy before the locals a logo showing Mohammed Bakr al-Sadr, the Shia cleric whose murder by Saddam has made him a martyr. His stature is such that Saddam City the Shia quarter of Baghdad has been renamed after him.
While the crowd listened to the imam's address, police formed a line separating the media from the mullahs and their followers. But their authority was nothing compared to the other force supervising the occasion young men with ammunition belts and Kalashnikovs, charged by their religious leaders with maintaining order. They directed the traffic and the crowds, and stood on the rooftops, guarding against attack. These are part of the Shia apparatus which currently runs the show in this part of the capital, just as they do in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala and some of the border towns.
Shias or not, dummies, you lost the war!!
That ain't democracy, idiot.
And: an angry Muslimist? Imagine that.
Hard to imagine how anyone can make supposedly credible statements about an individual they don't even know what position they hold.
Last I looked, Rummy has to do with the defense department. :)
Someone needs to splain exactly what 'democracy' means. It doesn't just mean "one man, one vote, one time" as Newt Gingrich put it so succintly at the AEI panel discussion earlier this week. It means a Constitution that allows freedom of worship (missing in every Islamic run govt. on the planet!)regular unimpeded elections, and freedom to criticize the govt. without fear of threats or physical harm to yourself or your family. It does not mean trading a secular dictatorship for a sectarian one, a la Iran!
As it stands, I'd wager that a great number (if not most) of the Shias see this as their golden opportunity to nail the Sunnis. I don't think they care whether their government is "Iranian-style" or anything else -- this is payback.
Also, besides the exiles, most of them really have no clue what democracy means or why its beneficial. Even the dumbest East Asians I know can look at Japan or Taiwan and kind of "get it." But there is absolutely no example for the Arabs. It is not at all irrational for them to suppose that a theocracy might improve their lot. It's ignorant yes, but not irrational.
I don't believe this reporter is being straight with people. He's just trying to cause trouble.
How does he know what "Iraq's Shia majority" thinks? He's been to one frigging mosque, and heard the only guy with a pulpit call for this. Last week, a million Shia pilgrims showed up in Karbala, and the Mullahs tried the same thing there. 3,000 people shouted what the Mullahs wanted shouted. The other 997,000 shined them on.
The Hell it did. The Shias didn't just "gather," and the Mullahs had nothing to do with why they were there. It's a traditional pilgrimage that occurs on that day, and this is the first year since Saddam took over they've been allowed to do it. So a million showed up. But it had nothing to do with Mullahs, and it had nothing to do with wanting an Islamic state. To suggest that this is some "warning to the US" is more wishful thinking from the Quagmire Salesmen in the press.
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