Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The King is Still Naked

By Ardalan Hardi
April 26, 2006

Now that the Shiite politicians have picked their new nominee, Jawad al-Maliki, for a prime minister to replace outgoing PM Ibrahim al-Jaafari, we can expect another long doldrums state of stalemate in Iraq. I don’t mean to say that nothing will change – obviously it already has. A new government is been formed, the parliament has convened, and it would seem that everything is going smoothly. However, it is optimistic to think that with the changing of the guards the political impasse will end in Iraq.

The Kurds are not going to give up what freedom they have achieved in their current democratic de-facto state after being subjected to series of betrayals by the United States and the largest genocidal massacres of modern times by Saddam Hessian’s Ba’athe’s party.

Even though most Shiites are Arabs the Sunnis treat them as though they are a different nationality. Because of their religious differences, the Shiites always have been considered second class citizens by Iraqi governments and the Arab world. In a recent interview with Al-Arabiya television Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said “Most of the Shiites are loyal to Iran, and not to the countries they are living in.’’ This is indicative of the Sunni’s true view of the Shiites.

Under Saddam’s Ba'ath party, Shiites were murdered by the tens of thousands. For decades Saddam brutally oppressed the Shiites, who rose up against him after the 1991 Gulf War. Now that the evil dictator is gone, the Shiites are not willing to share power with the Sunnis; after all, the Sunni insurgency of today is the dictator of yesterday that committed all the atrocities against the Shiites and the Kurds.

The Sunni’s in Iraq are threatened by the prospect of Shiites rule. The majority of the Sunni’s are former Ba’athe’s sympathizers with very strong sectarian and Arab nationalistic believes. For centuries they have refused to acknowledge the existence of Shiite’s theology and to this day they believe Iraq is an Arab state and Kurds are nonexistent and should be annihilated.

Maliki and Jaafari both come from the same political ideology – the Dawa party. The group strongly supports the establishment of an Islamic state in Iraq. That contradicts the whole theory of democratizing Iraq.

Adding to all this are the outside influences and sectarian tensions in the Shi’ite alliance. Al-Maliki, like his predecessor, and al-Jaafari's both are equally sectarian in their policies and have strong ties with the Iranian regime and the rebel Muqtada al-Sadder group which is allegedly behind most of the sectarian violence that we see today in Iraq.

Iraq, the country as a whole lacks any one person who has the ability to reunite Kurds, Sunni’s and Shiites under one umbrella called Iraq. Not because of inept leaders but because of the realities of strong differences, dislike and mistrust that run deep between the three different factions.

While it is true some progress has been made toward democracy in Iraq: the constitution, the election, Jaffari’s peaceful steps down from power, the fact the Sunni’s joined the second election and are more willing to participate in the parliament and use dialog to solve their differences. These are all great strides toward democracy in the Middle East as a whole. However, the only force that kept the fragile state of Iraq together, avoided civil war and brought the different factions to the dialog table, is the presence of the U.S. But it will take more than four to five years to build on this foundation. Is the U.S. willing to stay in Iraq for 20 to 30 years? The answer to that is obvious.

Just like Humpty Dumpty Iraq has fallen and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put Iraq together again.

We can not achieve long term peaceful resolution in Iraq and Middle East as a whole unless we are willing to face the true realties that exist in that unbalanced region.

By blindly stamping approval for al-Maliki so we can pull our troops out of Iraq and claim victory in favor of phony national reconciliation we are just procrastinating what is inevitably going to happen – a divided Iraq.
We all know it does not matter whether it is Jaafari or Maliki that is crowned as Prime Minister, The King is Still Naked.

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