Perhaps Some Optimism is Warranted...
I've been a frequent skeptic of any progress towards a semi-free country in Iraq, but the following report from the AFP
has made me reconsider (but only slightly):
Kurds have rejected the idea of an Islamic republic in Iraq following the victory of a conservative Shiite list in last month's historic elections.
"Kurds will oppose setting up an Islamic republic if this question is asked by other political forces in Iraq," Adnan Mufti, a senior member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan headed by Jalal Talabani, said Wednesday.
"Of course we are a Muslim people and we must respect our Muslim identity but we cannot pit religion against democracy," said Mufti, himself a candidate for speaker of the autonomous Kuridsh parliament.
Sami Shursh, the unofficial minister of culture within the other heavyweight Kurdish party, Massud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party, agrees.
"What Kurds want is a republican regime founded on the principle of rotation of power, with a parliamentary system, a separation of powers and a separation of religion and the state," he said Wednesday.
While mere appeals alone are not sufficient to provide freedom in Iraq, the ideas mentioned here are much better than I had hoped for. Also, the Kurds are predominantly members of the Sunni sect of Islam, putting them in opposition to the Shiite majority (just imagine if the Protestants had to fight the Catholics for power; it wouldn't be ideal, but better than all Catholics or all Protestants).
For those who have heralded Bush's work in the Middle East (which isn't even worthy of a subdued, "Yay"), the real test will be how Bush acts in the coming days. If the Shiites attempt to enforce their version of Islam, and the Kurds resist, Bush will prove his true stance on freedom by whether or not he backs the Kurds (especially since both Turkey and Iran would like nothing better than for the Kurds to be put in their "place"). His father failed to do so; we'll see if the apple isn't as rotten as the tree which it dropped from.
Of course, this is really wishful thinking. Most likely some form of theocracy is going to take hold, it's really only a question of time, and degree. But you can't say I didn't hope otherwise, at least for a few minutes.
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:59 AM