Monday, February 07, 2005

New Iraqi Government Demands Islamic Law

You won't read it in the New York Times, you won't see it on CNN, it won't be reported in Newsweek or the Washington Post, but the Iraqi election didn't go quite as planned. Initially it looked like a slam dunk for Bush and his cronies. 60% turnout with minimal casualties, a smooth election after months of chaos. But now, as the results pour in, that image is starting to change.

With 3.3 million votes counted, Grand Ayatollah Sistani's Shiite United Iraqi Alliance is beating Washington backed candidate Ayad Allawi and his 'list' by a 5:1 margin. Even more startling, al-Sistani and his top deputies are demanding that the koran be the sole source of law in the new Iraqi state.

Last month's election were to form a national assembly to draft a constitution for the country. Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani is the figurehead for the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, and the leader of the marja al-taqlid (the country's five most important clerics). The marja had presented a more moderate stance prior to the election, but when victory became clear their tune changed rapidly. Yesterday, the marja made they opinion public in a statement released by Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Ishaq al-Fayad:

"All of the ulema (clergy) and marja, and the majority of the Iraqi people, want the national assembly to make Islam the source of legislation in the permanent constitution and to reject any law that is contrary to Islam"
A fundamentalist Iraq is completely contrary to the wishes of the United States. This past year a public conflict emerged between US administrator Paul Bremer and Iraqi officials over the language of the interim constitution drafted under the US-led occupation.

The latest American rationale for war was that Iraq presented a threat to American security. President Bush constantly suggests that Iraq is the focal point in the war on terror, an assertation which is frequently challenged by the rest of the world. However, an Islamic Iraq still reeling from the savage US occupation would become a massive breeding ground for terror.

The United States has suffered 1,449 casualties in the conflict, and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have perished.

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