Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Iraq Election Quotes

One of the new additions to my list of links is In the Red Zone, a fascinating blog by freelance journalist Steven Vincent. Vincent has traveled extensively in post-Saddam Iraq, and has recently published a book sharing his experiences. Expect to see me link to his work on a regular basis.

Today, Vincent has a nice roundup of quotes from several of the major players in the Iraqi elections, as well as from several individuals who are less than enamored with the process. The Sistani and al-Hakim quotes in particular reinforce the point I made at length on Sunday, which is that there is little evidence that the Shia clerical establishment wishes to impose theocratic rule on the country. In fact, they have behaved with remarkable maturity and restraint.

Further evidence is provided by another newcomer to my blogroll, Iraq Election Diatribes. In this post, IED links to a December 2003 interview with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), who is widely expected to become head of the Iraqi interim government after the elections. Even then, Hakim made the point that:

As regards [to] the government that we want, we don't want an Islamic government. We want a constitutional government that preserves the rights of everybody and a government that believes in the public rights; a government that works for the interest of the Iraqi people, and believes that the people are the source to derive all the important decisions that concern the future of the Iraqi people.

It is possible, of course, that Sistani, Hakim, et. al. are simply lying, and can't wait to establish a Khomeiniist theocracy. If you look at what they have actually said and done over the last two years, however, instead of merely assuming that all ayatollahs are the same, you'll see that the evidence suggests otherwise.


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