Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Shia Grinning, Rubbing Hands Together

The elections in Iraq are only a few weeks away and Ali at Free Iraqi takes a look at the Shia.
My friends' father was praising Sistani saying he's a sane man who's trying to avoid blood shed. I agree with that but I think it has more to it than just being worried about blood shed. I think that She'at clerics are waiting impatiently for the elections thinking that it will lead to a decisive win for the She'at for the first time in history (and it will) and this is obvious from the effort they are doing to encourage people to vote. The Hawza (the main Religious school for She'at in Iraq and the world) is closed temporarily so that its student can have more time on 'educating' people and encouraging them to vote. The only thing that might lead to a civil war is that if the Shea't main religious leaders lose their sanity totally and the only thing that could cause that is if the She'at do not get the majority in the upcoming elections or if the elections get postponed. Now will the She'at clerics be mad if the She'at achieve he majority through secular parties and not religious ones? Maybe, but they won't find enough people among She'at to support them if they think of something crazy.

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Steven Vincent continues to post some of the best pieces of analysis on Iraq and the wider War on Terror.
As for Iraq, if--I find myself unable to add "and when"--democracy takes root there, the country's people will someday see beyond their current resentments and come to honor U.S. sacrifices in liberating them. Spread that gratitude across the Shia crescent and bin Laden's efforts to mount the white horse of Sunni supremacy will backfire, drawing Washington and the Hawza closer together and isolating Saudi Arabia. Which is another way of saying, advancing U.S. interests by wresting the Middle East away from Our Friends the Saudis and their pernicious Wahhabi ideology. Then we can begin the epochal task of helping Shia moderates wean their religion from the mind-numbing, spirit-dulling, woman-oppressing strictures of shari'a--but that's for my next post.

If you want to learn something today, read the whole blog entry.

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GM at Big Pharaoh offers his views on the recent Palestinian elections.
Abu Mazen’s biggest challenge will not be in negotiating a peace agreement with Israel as much as it will be in taming the endless factions and corruption (i.e. Arafat’s heritage) that rule the Palestinian areas. His challenge will be in convincing horrendous groups such as Hamas to drop the gun and join the nonviolent bandwagon towards the state of Palestine. This won’t be easy because convincing Hamas to stop terror is just like convincing McDonald’s to stop serving hamburgers. Hamas lives on its terror activities which give it its political points and playing cards. In addition, it will be hard to convince Syria and Iran to halt Hamas activities because those two countries also want to maintain their “Hamas/Jihad” playing cards on the Palestine Poker Table.

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