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The Shiite Dilemma: 
Iraq's Challenge to Democracy  

By ExHindu

 

If Shiite domination happens through pluralistic democratic process that occurs in every democratic election, then it should be applauded provided a decent constitution that is enacted which recognizes the Shiite demographic disposition in Iraq. The Shiites are not as monolithic as it seems. Already, there has been murder of two of their clerics-right inside a mosque in the middle of their holy site. One was a moderate and the other was said to be a stooge of the previous regime. The moderate was said to be defending the stooge with a gun but was overwhelmed by those around them. These people could not even control their emotions inside a mosque!!

Chalabi of INC is a Shiite but is advocating a return to rule of law under a democracy. Like him, there are a segment among the Shiites in Iraq who are for this principally those who are educated and the intellectuals.
Then, there are Shiites who want to turn Iraq into an Islamic theocracy. This grouping itself is not a monolith either. One side is Iran-inspired while the other is shaped by Arab nationalism.

Here lies the booby-trap for Iran, USA and other neignbors.
A successful constitutional democratic society in Iraq will not be tolerated by the Mullah's controlling Iran even if the Shiites in Iraq hold power in the resultant democracy. This would undermine the Mullahcracy in Iran right under their feet. As it is, Iranians who have been under the tyranny of Shiite Mullahcracy for a generation, the majority of them are not infatuated with their Shiism or Islam as the Arabs are. Iranians are already beginning to question this Arabic cultural domination- this same Arabic culture that threw poison gas and other chemical weapons upon the flower of the Iranian youth during the Iran-Iraq war. This bitter memory is further compounded by the mobilization of Arabs (though some were imported solely for the purpose but most were Shiite Iraqi exiles of the Revolutionary Council/Badr outfit) to suppress Iranian students demonstrating in Iranian soil against Iranian tyrants. A return of these lackeys to their own land would only undermine the security comfort of the Mullah tyranny. There is already a lack of confidence in the loyalty of the Iranian regular army. The Mullahs were not uniformed when several elements of the Revolutionary Guards displayed signs of discomfort when ordered to suppress the recent student uprising. Echoes of complete refusal to carry out orders in these vanguard forces of the Mullahs have not been confirmed but would not be surprising if they turn out to be true. The appointment of Admiral Shimkani to the high echelon of command was an attempt to check the potential of trouble.

Further to this mixture of complexities, a Shiite sway in Iraq, either fundamentalist or democratic, would shift the Shiite center of gravity to Iraq. After all, to most Shiites, it is in Iraqi soil lies the most holy of holy sites of Shiism. Qom (though Iranian population is larger than Iraq's, I believe the Shiite population in Iraq to be larger as most Iranians have become less and less Shiite and had become more and more Persians over the last 20 odd years thanks to Khomeinism), even though still a holy site, would be reduced to play second or third fiddle. With a daily shrinking local flock under their sway, ruling Iranian Mullahs have only their Arab Shiites to look to as followers. If this flock is lost to Clerics in Najaff and Nasiriyah, the Iranian Mullahcracy would be left to preach to themselves and the walls that confine them in their refuge of Qom. Thus lies their dilemma.

As it is now, the Shiites of Iraq are already fragmented. The daily demonstrations we now see are either Iranian inspired or controlled. If these factions succeed in driving the American-led coalition out (which I think is not likely) in their attempt to install a fundamentalist government, there certainly would be bloody feud. It would involve Shiites against Shiites, Shiites against Sunnis, Sunnis against Kurds and Kurds against Shiites. Not to mention the involvement of Turkey, USA, Syria and Wahhabites from Saudi Arabia. This would also tempt the Iranian Mullahs to involve on the ground with their own muscle flexing. Involvement of foreign military elements could not be too far behind. It would be disastrous for Iran. If the likely scenario develops (which I think is a little far fetched but not impossible), elements of the Revolutionary Guards are most likely to engage in shoring up their Iraqi allies. Iranian army elements would be prone to defections and thus most likely would be kept in their barracks. Of course, Iran will not be able to afford a Vietnam of its own and on top of it in the face of an American ire. Mostly, against the wills and wishes of majority of Iranians, this adventure will costly to the Mullahcracy. If push comes to shove, at this critical moment, they will not have the military of Iraqi Badr/Supreme Revolutionary cadres nor many of the Revolutionary Guard elements operating in Iraq. Thus they would be exposing themselves to extinction at this critical juncture.

Ruling Sunni elites all around Iraq are already looking with anxiety at the development in Iraq. They would not sit idle and let a fundamentalist outfit gains power in Iraq. With sizeable Shiite minority especially in the oil rich region in Saudi Arabia, the Wahabite power holders would definitely seek to undermine a Shiite religious dominance in Iraq especially if it is leaning towards Iran. While a democracy may not be palatable because it give rise to questions about democracy in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwaits etc, an Islamic government in Iraq would be absolutely intolerable. Either way, Iranian ruling elites would be in precarious foothold. They are in trouble either way. For the Arabs, especially Iraqi Shiites, if they insist on an Islamic state, they can be assured of a perpetual warfare with no end in sight. This will surely lead to a break up of Iraq especially those held by Kurds together with its oil producing fields.. This would be a great lost to Arab pride. So it is up to the Shiites. They can be monkeys, donkeys, and wild beasts all they want. But if they want to live in peace, let them dance in their wild monkey voodoo inspired blood letting frenzy for a while until reality sets in to sit and confer with the new masters in town-USA/UK alliance. Otherwise they will be monkeys or beastly in perpetual warfare amongst themselves and with others. In meantime, Iran (or rather the Mullahs) better watch out.

 

 

 

 

 

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