Iraq is now a Shiite Islamic Theocracy, thanks to Bush
|Sunday, October 21,2007 18:28|
|By Darrell Williams|
The U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003 succeeded in achieving ‘regime change‘. This goal was clearly stated in the Republican Party platform prior to the 2000 U.S. presidential election. The American voters should have read this document more closely before electing George W. Bush president. They should also have foreseen the consequences of this action.
Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 - “Declares that it should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power in Iraq and to replace it with a democratic government.”
Those members of Congress who voted for this Act may have been under the impression that it was intended to mean that the U.S. would use persuasion or peaceful means to change the Hussein regime. However the Bush administration interpreted it to mean ‘regime change’ by any means necessary, including war. The rush to war quickly became a stampede. War with Iraq has always been the top priority of the Bush administration. George W. Bush wanted to be a ‘War President’ just like his dad.
The goals of the Bush administration have remained unchanged since 2000. These goals were firmly established long before 9/11/01 and had nothing to do with the attack on the World Trade Center or terrorism. All of the different, constantly changing excuses that the administration publicly proclaimed in the White House news releases were simply facades to hide the real objectives. The White House had to present impressive, honorable motives to secure public approval before deliberately starting an aggressive war.
Even though the Act stated the noble objective of establishing democracy as the pretended goal, actually democracy was never the real issue. The more important issue to American corporations was the economic system of Iraq. The Republican NeoCon master plan was to remove the socialistic economic system of the Hussein government and replace it with a capitalistic system in which there were no state owned industries. This was a clear violation of international law. An occupying nation is forbidden from changing the economic system of an occupied nation. The Hussein government had complete ownership and control of all of the major industries, the oil industry, about 200 major businesses and the major banks. This socialistic system was preventing private ownership of the oil industries and was an obstacle to U.S. capitalistic ambitions in the Middle East. This grandiose attempt to change the fundamental nature of an entire nation overnight, has resulted in total chaos, confusion and civil war. Almost everything that the Bush administration has done in Iraq since 2003, has been in violation of the articles of the Geneva Convention. Numerous books have already been published detailing these many violations and these actions by the administration should be investigated in the future by an independent commission or an international tribunal.
The more immediate issue should be to clarify what has happened since the Iraq invasion and the alternate outcomes that may result from this U.S. occupation.
The fallacious façade that was presented by the Bush administration proclaimed that the U.S. was invading Iraq for the noble purpose of liberating the people and establishing democracy. This goal was only declared after it was learned that the original claim of removing the Weapons of Mass Destruction, was a phony excuse, since Iraq had none of these. The U.S. has always promoted the peaceful spread of democracy in all nations. This was an honorable excuse that the American public could accept, if they believed it was true. In reality, the invasion was never about establishing democracy in Iraq, but solely about privatizing the lucrative Iraqi oil industry. Truthfully, U.S. corporations have very little interest in whether or not the Iraqi people, or any people, have freedom or democracy. Multi billion dollar corporations have only one focus, which is purely economical, and that is to increase their revenues. Billionaire American CEO’s don’t spend a lot of time worrying about religious freedoms, equal rights for Iraqi women, civil rights or free speech. They are however, concerned with free enterprise.
The concepts of American democracy and Islamic democracy should be compared and contrasted. These two are not the same. Whenever the Bush administration made the claim that they were on a noble mission to establish democracy in Iraq, the American people understood that Bush meant the same type of American democracy that our nation currently has. This was never possible in a Muslim nation like Iraq, or any other Islamic nation in the Middle East. The concept of American democracy, as it is conceived in our nation, includes the Bill of Rights, a Constitution which is secular (non-religious), and three equal branches of government which have separate powers and are able to enforce the liberties and civil rights of all citizens. The American concept of democracy is more than just mob rule. Mob rule has been called the ‘Tyranny of the Majority’. When there are no restrictions or legal restraints, the majority (political or religious) will usually impose their will on the weaker minority. This produces discrimination against the minorities and civil rights violations. The American system of government was intended to prevent these abuses. Preserving and establishing equal rights is still a continuing struggle in our own nation.
The concept of Islamic democracy has none of the libertarian American features. It has a very simple meaning. It means ‘rule by the majority‘ and almost nothing else. Without any legal protections for the minorities it is not equivalent to American democracy. In any nation, like Iraq, in which about 95% of the people belong to the same religion, American style democracy is not possible. In the present Iraqi government, 100% of all segments of the administration, the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches are all fundamentalist Muslims. This is demanded by the present Iraqi Constitution. It is impossible for any non-Muslim to participate in the government or to receive liberty, equality, justice or civil rights. Intolerant theocracies and freedoms cannot coexist.
American democracy exists in a more tolerant heterogeneous society which is composed of multiple cultures, religions, ethnic backgrounds, ideas and beliefs. Muslim nations like Iraq are more homogeneous. They are composed of essentially one religion and one culture. Whenever any one religion has complete control over every aspect of society, there is no possibility that they will protect the freedoms or rights of any small minority which has alternative beliefs or conflicting religious views. In a homogeneous society, it is impossible to prevent mob rule. In this situation, the coexistence of antagonistic beliefs could only be accomplished by a military dictatorship. In Iraq, the dictatorship of Hussein used the Army to prevent the majority Islamic sect of Shiites from controlling the government. Military force was used to prevent sectarian civil wars. Hussein’s military, socialistic government was still Islamic, but it was not a theocracy.
Throughout history, different systems of government have used both secular leaders and religious leaders to control the people. Usually they work together in a partnership. The secular political governments can be controlled by kings, presidents, dictators, tribal chiefs or any non-religious military personal, individuals or political groups. Theocracies are ruled by priests, popes, ayatollahs, imams, religious leaders or religious councils. Some societies unite these two functions in a single individual such as the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, the Japanese divine emperor, or a divine king.
When the secular leader has maximum power, it is usually a military dictatorship. When the religious leader has maximum power it is called a religious theocracy. This control can be shared to different degrees and it is often not clear which type of government is prevailing.
When the U.S. invasion of Iraq removed the secular military dictatorship of Hussein, and provided for a nationwide free election, it created the opportunity for the establishment of an Islamic democracy. It did not create the opportunity for an American style democracy. The only aspect of democracy that the 2005 elections produced in Iraq was ‘rule by the majority‘. The Shiites are the majority Islamic sect in Iraq and they won the elections. These Islamic democratic elections created a Shiite Islamic theocracy which now controls the government, the Iraqi Army, the Iraqi police and every aspect of society.
UN Security Council Resolution 1511 states that the role of the CPA will "cease when an internationally recognized representative government established by the people of Iraq is sworn in and assumes the responsibilities of the Authority (CPA)".
Whenever Bush boasts that he has created democracy in Iraq, he should read the present Iraqi Constitution. The Iraqi Constitution clearly states that the President, Prime Minister and all members of the government must be Muslims. This is a religious test that is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution. This Iraqi religious requirement for government leaders, jurists, legislators, civil servants and most people employed by the government defines the Iraqi government as a theocracy. The supreme law of the land is still the Koran (Qur’an) and Islamic Law (or Shari‘a Law). In the U.S. the supreme law of the land is the non-religious U.S. Constitution, not any religious texts or documents. The U.S. has a separation of religion and state and Iraq has a unification of religion and state. Iraq absolutely does not have a democracy (by American standards), it has a Shiite Islamic theocracy. This was made possible by the U.S. invasion and the short sightedness of the Bush administration.
This does not mean to imply that the Iraqi people should or should not have an Islamic theocratic government. This is strictly a decision of choice that the Iraqi people have a right to make. No other foreign government, or occupier, has the right to make this decision for them. The citizens of Iraq have the legal right as an independent nation to choose whatever type of government, culture or economic system that they desire.
There are several possible future outcomes of the present Iraqi quagmire that the U.S. is now stuck in. If the U.S. continues to provide modern military equipment, weapons, and personal training to the present Shiite Iraqi Army, and the Iraqi President and Prime Minister develop into strong willed national leaders, the Iraqi government may become another military dictatorship. This dictatorship would be basically Islamic, but not a theocracy. This is independent of what type of economic system that these leaders may choose to develop. It may be socialistic (state ownership) or capitalistic (private ownership).
If the Iraqi President and Prime Minister fail to become strong national leaders, the religious leaders, primarily the Ayatollahs (Shiite Islamic leaders), will probably assume all control and authority over the military and domestic policies. This would produce a strong Shiite Islamic theocracy. Only a strong military dictatorship can control the religious fundamentalist extremists and independent minded tribal leaders. If the government doesn’t control the religious fundamentalists, they will control the government. The fundamentalist religious character of the Iraqi people makes this kind of theocracy the most probable outcome. Especially since almost everyone still remembers the repressive nature of the recent Hussein regime. This theocracy is exactly the system that presently exists in the neighboring Islamic nation of Iran. The Supreme Leader in Iran is the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He is the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces and has the final word in all aspects of foreign and domestic policy. All theocracies are simultaneously dictatorships. Religious theocracies restrict liberties and freedoms exactly the same way military dictatorships do. The present president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has very little power. He was previously a civil engineer and was elected primarily to improve the economic development of the nation. Apparently he has not succeeded in achieving the expected improvements and will probably not be reelected in the next election. The U.S. should not pay too much attention to him because he is not the real authority in Iran. The Ayatollah is the Supreme Leader.
The establishment of a Shiite Islamic Theocracy in Iraq, adjacent to the Shiite Islamic Theocracy in Iran is not good news for the rest of the Middle East. After many disagreements and wars in the past, these two nations now have congenial governments, similar national goals and identical religious values. They will undoubtedly unite in political and economic agreements. Since Iran may continue developing nuclear programs, they will probably share their knowledge and technology with the Iraqi government. This will create a very volatile situation throughout the Middle East. It could also encourage the Shiite Muslims in other neighboring nations to instigate more civil wars that could disrupt the entire region. Increasing conflicts could also hinder or halt the distribution of the world’s oil supplies and paralyze many economic systems including our own.
The present refusal of the U.S. to redeploy from Iraq is primarily because both of the above outcomes are antagonistic to U.S. corporate interests. The emergence of a new military dictator in Iraq would return the country to the same conditions that existed under the Hussein regime. Strong dictators are independently minded and usually uncooperative. The emergence of a strong Shiite Islamic theocracy ruled by an ayatollah would probably result in the government opposing any congenial relations with the U.S. or sharing any of the oil revenues. An Islamic theocracy would probably be as oppressive and anti-American as a military dictatorship.
Because of these negative qualities of these outcomes, the Bush administration and Congress are considering a third option.
A third alternate outcome of the present situation in Iraq could be the partitioning of the nation into three separate federal districts. This would be analogous to the outcome of the 1950-53 Korean war. North and South Korea were permanently separated and the U.S. remained permanently in South Korea guarding the border at the 38th parallel. Today about 40,000 U.S. soldiers are stationed in South Korea to guard the capitalistic system in the south.
The U.S. Congress is presently considering this option. It is very probably that the Bush administration had this option planned from the beginning of the occupation. The Bush administration is currently spending hundreds of millions (of taxpayers dollars) constructing huge permanent U.S. military bases throughout Iraq. This implies the administration’s intention of permanently occupying and ruling the Iraqi nation as an American colony.
If Iraq were permanently subdivided, just like Korea, the U.S. or some international peacekeeping force would have to remain permanently guarding these internal partitions. Without assistance from other nations, this would probably require 100,000 U.S. military personnel. The North and South Koreans may never compromise and may remain permanent antagonists. Korea probably will not be reunited unless the northern communistic economic system evolves into a more capitalistic system. The three Islamic sects in Iraq (Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds) will also probably never compromise and the U.S. occupation would be permanent. The Shiites and Sunnis have been separated since about the seventh century A.D. Political and economic systems may sometimes compromise, but religious schisms never reunite. This national Iraqi partition might theoretically permit a peaceful coexistence, but it is very doubtful that any of the Muslim sects or tribes would ever accept the presence of foreigners on their soil. Despite the sectarian differences, nationalism is still very strong in Iraq. Only the northern Kurds actually want separation and independence. Consequently, the present suicide bombings and attacks against the U.S. military would probably continue forever. This division of the nation and the continuation of a bloody civil war would not be beneficial to any of the Iraqi people, who have already been suffering for many years. However it might be beneficial to the American oil companies. If the U.S. succeeds in privatizing the Iraqi oil industry and establishing American ownership, the American oil companies will probably exploit the natural resources of the Iraqi nation while the U.S. Army protects their operations. (This is ‘plundering’ by an occupier and is completely illegal by international law). The U.S. Army and private security guards (paid for by U.S. taxpayers) would be forced to protect the oil companies and their highly paid employees. However, this would undoubtedly never be achieved peacefully. A never ending war would result in continuously large numbers of American and Iraqi casualties and daily violence for everyone.
If the United States ever wants to reestablish credibility and good will with the rest of the world, they should immediately cease the illegal occupation, domination and exploitation of the sovereign nation of Iraq and offer financial reparation for all of the damages and human suffering that has resulted from this occupation. International good will is the only real way to reduce terrorism and violence. Only tolerance and the mutual respect for national sovereignty can produce peace.