Thursday, March 30, 2006

Designer Democracy

So much for "freedom and democracy". The Americans once again reveal that these words are empty of content, when the democratic process runs counter to their wishes. Here is what the New York Times wrote on March 30:

Mr. Jaafari is at the center of the deadlock in the talks over forming a new government, with the main Kurdish, Sunni Arab and secular blocs in the 275-member Parliament staunchly opposing the Shiite bloc's nomination of Mr. Jaafari for prime minister.
Senior Shiite politicians said Tuesday that the American ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, had weighed in over the weekend, telling the leader of the Shiite bloc that President Bush did not want Mr. Jaafari as prime minister. That was the first time the Americans had openly expressed a preference for the post, the politicians said, and it showed the Bush administration's acute impatience with the political logjam.
Relations between Shiite leaders and the Americans have been fraying for months and reached a crisis point after a bloody assault on a Shiite mosque compound Sunday night by American and Iraqi forces.

It is still a mystery what happened around the mosque in Sadr city. There is also a lid on the media, and locals are obviously afraid of being witnesses to events. The Americans are up against strong shiite power, Mr. Jaafari being increasingly supported by Al-Sadr. The US is against his more or less openly expressed plans to form an army out of the militias. According to the Americans these militias are at the heart of the bloodshed.


Blogger Sophia said...

The Iraqi constitution was originally written by the neo-cons and they handed it to occupied Iraqis. At some point, Riverbend reproted that there were so many different versions of the constitution, depending on the language (arabic or english). They made sure that confessionnal and sectarian divisions reflected in the constitution and the oversized power given to kurds will maintain the country divided and require their perpetual meddling in Iraq's internal affairs.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Duck said...

It is interesting what Inter Press Service writes on the new constitution and women's rights in it:

''Under the previous dictator regime, the basic rights for women were enshrined in the constitution,'' Houzan Mahmoud from the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq told IPS in an interview. The group is a sister organization of MADRE, an international women's rights group.

Under Saddam, she said, ''women could go out to work, university and get married or divorced in civil courts. But at the moment women have lost almost all their rights and are being pushed back into the corner of their house.''

The recent constitution which was written under the U.S. government's supervision is ''very backward and anti-women,'' Mahmoud said. ''They make Islam the source for law making, and the main official religion of the country. This in itself means Islamic Sharia law and according to this women will be considered second-class citizens and will have no power in deciding over their lives.''

Saddam was undoubtedly a terrible dictator, but when it came to secularization, women's rights and for instance the protection of other religions, it the constitution in his regime was much more modern.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Sophia said...

In the sixties, secular movements in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and lebanon were on the rise, boosted by the palestinian liberation cause. These movements gave rise to the ruling baath parties in Iraq and Syria. Secular movements were fought against by the financing of Islamists in these countries by Saudis and their american allies.
Secularism is a value among arabs. However, without development, secularism was meant to expire and it expired in fact under the economic burdens of imperialistic wars, Israel and the Iraq war against iran, which was, in a way, a war done by the dictator puppet Saddam for his american masters at the time.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Duck said...

Yes, you can see pictures of Saddam meeting Rumsfeld in the beginning of the 1980's when they were allies in the fight against the Ayatollahs in Iran. Later he became too much of a threat to American and Israeli interests.

11:30 AM  

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