FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Coming Islamic Republic of Iraq?

The weekend uprising by Shiite Muslim militias against the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq creates more uncertainty about US/British plans to turn over authority in July to an interim Iraqi regime. Whether this can be done without bringing on a ferocious civil war is more than ever in doubt.

The recent events led by the followers of young al-Sadr are among the predicted, yet unintended, consequences of the US-led war in Iraq. As a result of the downfall of the Baath regime in Iraq there emerged a fearsome Shiite Muslim geopolitical bloc that will dominate the political life in the Middle East for many years. Religious Shiite groups and militias in Iraq have recently stepped into the gap resulting from the collapse of the Baath Party, especially in the sacred shrine cities.

With the collapse of a regime dominated by Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, Iraq’s Shiite majority now aspires to claim political dominance for the first time in the modern history of the country. The Shiites of Iraq, already the second most powerful force in Iraq behind U.S. forces, are now openly/ and militantly resisting foreign intervention.

In a generally religious country, religious leaders belonging to the Shiite sect have a particularly firm grip on rank-and-file believers. It is clear that the Islamist movements will play a major role in the future of Iraq’s politics, particularly among the Shiites. The Shiite majority is going to play an important part in Iraq, and the Shiite clergy is going to play an important part in Shiite politics.

The Sadr movement wants an Islamic republic in Iraq, even if not one exactly like the one Ayatollah Khomeini established in Iran. Like most other Iraqi Shiite clerics, Muqtada wants the Americans out of Iraq as soon as possible. He says, according to one report, that “We refuse occupation. If the Americans become occupiers, yes, we have to go to jihad. The Shiite taught the world jihad, and the Iraqi people gave millions of their sons to Saddam Hussein. If they were to defy the Americans, they would not find it hard to give millions more.”

It seems that twenty-five years after Ayatollah Khomeini outmaneuvered Iran’s religious and political establishment, his spiritual disciples in Iraq are attempting a similar clerical takeover. Within the increasingly volatile conditions of post-Saddam Iraq, where the American occupation of Iraq is new and unsteady, the power of the Shiites emerges as one of the wildcards.

Dr. BULENT GOKAY is Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Director of European Studies Programme at Keele University in England.

 

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 24, 2019
Jim Kavanagh
Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back
Nino Pagliccia
Sorting Out Reality From Fiction About Venezuela
Jeff Sher
Pickin’ and Choosin’ the Winners and Losers of Climate Change
Howard Lisnoff
“Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”
Robert Fisk
The West’s Disgraceful Silence on the Death of Morsi
Dean Baker
The Old Japan Disaster Horror Story
David Mattson
The Gallatin Forest Partnership and the Tyranny of Ego
George Wuerthner
How Mountain Bikes Threaten Wilderness
Christopher Ketcham
The Journalist as Hemorrhoid
Manuel E. Yepe
Yankee Worship of Bombings and Endless Wars
Mel Gurtov
Iran—Who and Where is The Threat?
Wim Laven
Revisiting Morality in the Age of Dishonesty
Thomas Knapp
Facebook’s Libra Isn’t a “Cryptocurrency”
Weekend Edition
June 21, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Brett Wilkins
A Brief History of US Concentration Camps
Rob Urie
Race, Identity and the Political Economy of Hate
Rev. William Alberts
America’s Respectable War Criminals
Paul Street
“So Happy”: The Trump “Boom,” the Nation’s Despair, and the Decline of Joe Biden
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ask Your Local Death Squad
Dr. Vandana Shiva
Fake Food, Fake Meat: Big Food’s Desperate Attempt to Further the Industrialisation of Food
Eric Draitser
The Art of Trade War: Is Trump Winning His Trade War against China?
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s Russian Problem
Jonathan Cook
Forget Trump’s Deal of the Century: Israel Was Always on Course to Annexation
Andrew Levine
The Biden Question
Stanley L. Cohen
From Tel Aviv to Tallahassee
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early
Kenn Orphan
Normalizing Atrocity
Ajamu Baraka
No Dare Call It Austerity
Ron Jacobs
The Redemptive Essence of History
David Rosen
Is Socialism Possible in America?
Dave Lindorff
The US as Rogue Nation Number 1
Joseph Natoli
The Mad King in His Time
David Thorstad
Why I’m Skipping Stonewall 50
Michael Welton
Native People: Changing Our Ways of Seeing
Peter Bolton
The US-UK “Special Relationship” is a Farce
Ramzy Baroud
‘World Refugee Day’: Palestinians Keep Their Right of Return Alive Through Hope, Resistance
Louis Proyect
The Douma Gas Attack: What’s the Evidence It was a False Flag?
Binoy Kampmark
Nigel Farage’s Grand Tour of Sabotage
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Sanctions are Sadistic and Spiteful
Norman Solomon
Clueless and Shameless: Joe Biden, Staggering Frontrunner
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong is Far From China’s Biggest Problem
Lawrence Davidson
On the Alleged “Preciousness of Life”
Mel Gurtov
Impeach Trump
Rajan Menon
America’s Suicide Epidemic: It’s Hitting Trump’s Base Hard
Dan Bacher
Oregon Governor Kate Brown Signs Five-Year Fracking Ban Bill
Ralph Nader
Congressional Interns and Congress Redirections—A Meeting
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail