Monday, April 14, 2003

Democracy in Iraq, fundamental questions

It is said that this war is for establishing a democratic state in Iraq or Iraqis should choose their government freely. Is it possible? Or it is another factious politicians’ slogan!. This is challenging issue and we need more information before any judgment. For me, at the present situation, it is next to impossible!!. I think a temporary colonization is the most probable option, though they may call it with other names!. Why? I have some reasons for it.
I have read an interesting interview with Agha Khan, the leader of the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims. He remarks very important points
Iraq lies on a fault line between two parts of the Arab world, between the Arab Muslim world and the non-Arab Muslim world; between Shia Muslims and Sunnis; between Wahhabi Muslims and Shias. The conflict has opened a series of fundamental questions which it will be necessary to manage with great prudence. It has touched the area's religious equilibrium. In Iraq, you had a Sunni-minority government in a majority-Shia country. In Syria, it's the opposite. As for Saudi Arabia, its positions on a number of points are absolutely and totally rejected by other countries of the same geographical area.
In this context, one must ask oneself the question as to what one wishes to achieve in a post-Saddam Hussain Iraq. Whether the United Nations will agree to become the principal authority for the rebuilding of Iraq? Whether we are moving towards a temporary colonization by the English and the Americans? Will elections in Iraq lead to Shia power? Will this Shia majority ally itself with Iran, with Yemen? Will there be stronger empathy between Shia Arabs and Shia non-Arabs or between Arab Shias and Arab Sunnis? These are fundamental questions. On the military and economic planes, an Iran-Iraq axis would be extremely powerful. How will Saudi Arabia and its partners react to this redistribution of cards?
Democracy in Iraq has not been applied for a very long time. Putting in place a credible system will take time and will be very difficult to organize.Afghanistan proves it. And then, we must be prepared to accept the verdict of democracy. This democracy should be applied over time and in [a climate of] stability. In many countries, the democratic experiment has failed. If you wish to set up a democratic process in a Third World country, it is imperative to reflect, not only on the process, but also its effects; its results. Iraq is an educated country, with a grand tradition. But, it is not more pluralistic in its way of thinking than is Afghanistan. Democracy, if it is established in Iraq, must legitimate pluralism. That is not easy to achieve. The bottom line is to have a successful democracy. And for that, it is imperative to seek out elites with competence in governing. Read more
(posted by Iman)

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