Tuesday, January 17, 2006

U.S. Uncomfortable with Shiite Majority in Iraq?

According to a story (see also) written by an affiliate of the Christian Science Monitor, the United States is "throwing its weight" behind Sunni politicians and political parties, in order to soften the Shiite majority. Expectedly so, factions of the Shiite party are defiant to the idea.

It is increasingly clear that the United States is less committed to any true notion of democracy in Iraq, which could result in various political formations that threaten American hegemony; rather, despite the completed elections, the United States continues to play with the building blocks of power in Iraq.

If the United States would like Iraqi government (and the Middle East at large) to reflect a particular disposition (e.g., government consistent with the aims of American interest--see Victory in Iraq), rather than follow a particular process (democracy), America ought to quit playing with Iraqi political heartstrings, fold the government, and take over the region.

The sum: America is learning that "democracy" is not always consistent with American goals.


Blogger baelmon said...

Quite right, I fear. US government disdain for democracy in Iraq is quite obvious. A few samples of the Bush administration's hatred of democracy: forcefully opening Iraq's economy to extreme free-market measures, negotiating a status-of-forces agreement with the US's own occupation regime (Bremer), pushing for a complicated systems of caucuses meant to appoint Iraq's government until popular resistance caused them to cave into demands for real elections, planting fake and deceptive "news" in the Iraqi press, keeping foreign soliders on Iraqi soil without even considering how Iraqis feel on the issue, etc. This is the sort of conflict one would expect to see between a power system's rhetoric and its actions.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Nick Z. said...

It's sad, isn't it? And yet, the American government still gets to use the word democracy as their catch phrase.

The worst part is, there is a large faction of Americans that (a) think that the Iraqis are truly free now, and truly have democracy, and (b) have a "who's next?" attitude about the middle eastern nations.

My father and I once had a discussion during which I suggested that what the United States military was executing in Iraq was in fact imperialistic; he responded by challenging me to this problem: what if it is an empire of good?

That's the attitude that the American government is enforcing; it's a shame, isn't it?

6:11 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

I'd have to agree with everything said here so far.

Though I'd like to add a caveat: one reason thinking people everywhere should be worried about a Shi'ite majority is because the Shi'ites were oppressed for so long under the Sunni minority. It seems likely that (1) Sunnis now having to live as a minority will be most unhappy with this arrangement, and this will cause conflict; and (2) some Shi'ites will be looking for revenge in some form, and so the Sunni minority does need special protection. Of course American coersion does not help the situation.

6:24 AM  
Blogger Nick Z. said...

Thanks for the comment, Jess.

The issue of revenge, and also of a former "majority" under Hussein now living as a minority are thorny and legitimate issues.

To be honest, I'm not quite sure what else to say about how such a conflict should be resolved; some suggest that civil war is impending doom for Iraqis; I also wonder what would happen if Iraq split into various states reflecting ethnic groups; this seems troubling as well because living under a preferred government does not guarantee a lack of violence or coercion between the groups.

7:01 AM  

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