September 13, 2006
Wholly Shi'ite Alliance?By Andrew G. Bostom
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al—Maliki—who spent years in Iran during his exile from the Saddam Hussein regime—made his first official visit to Iran Tuesday, September 12, 2006 —five years and a day after the cataclysmic jihad terrorist attacks of 9/11/01. Mr. al—Maliki was greeted warmly by Iranian President Ahmadinejad. The meeting reflected growing economic ties between Iraq's Shi'ite—led government and the Shi'ite theocracy of neighboring Iran.
Last month Baghdad finalized deals for Tehran to provide it with gasoline, kerosene and cooking fuel amid a shortage in Iraq. Immediately prior to al—Maliki's visit, a separate Iraqi delegation discussed additional petroleum deals, including possible Iranian investment in Iraq's fuel sector.
Accompanied by mutual expressions of 'brotherhood', the two Shi'ite leaders—al—Maliki and Ahmadinejad—pledged continued cooperation. Ahmadinejad stated,
Al—Maliki characterized the talks as 'very constructive' adding that Iran is '...a very important country, a good friend and brother.'
I found the meeting between al—Maliki and Ahmadinejad surreal, and profoundly depressing, juxtaposed with President Bush's speech commemorating the fifth anniversary of 9/11/01, which ended only hours earlier (9:18 PM EDT), in Washington, DC.
The President told us (sans Muslim references),
But only hours later, the clearly extremist Shi'ite Muslim President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Shi'ite 'brother', our ostensible ally Iraqi Prime Minister al—Maliki, pledged their own mutual cooperation against (Sunni Muslim) Al—Qaeda, Ahmadinejad affirming,
President Bush also warned,
But what if the Shi'ite Iraqi government willingly allies itself to the jihadist Shi'ite theocracy of Iran, an erstwhile nuclear power? Iran clearly has designs on 'Iraq's resources' (for the moment contenting itself with 'trade'), which could be used to advance its own hegemonic 'extremist movement'. And President Bush's 'not allow' rhetoric already rings hollow as these unsettling developments—highlighted by al—Maliki's Iranian visit—are happening now, despite America staying 'in the fight'. Moreover, if Iraq continues its seemingly inexorable progression towards a Shari'a state ['Islamic State by the will of the people', in popular Islamic parlance], it will be neither a 'free nation', nor 'a strong ally in the war on terror'.
Perhaps the earliest, most concrete sign of things going awry in Iraq's march toward 'freedom' was already evident in February 2004: the refusal of the interim Iraqi government to allow its ancient, historically oppressed (often brutally so) Jews to return in the wake of the 2003 liberation. Singling out the Jews was agreed upon absent any objection, except for the dissent of one lone Assyrian Christian representative in the interim government, who knew well what such bigotry foreshadowed: the oppression and resultant exodus of the Assyrian community — which is now transpiring.
Despite his lionization, Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Sistani remains an irridentist Shi'ite cleric who believes in najis—one of the more despicable belief systems in all of Islam—which imposes ugly restrictions on non—Muslim 'infidels' due to their supposed physical and spiritual 'impurity' [I have written about najis here, here, and here]. Sistani also 'wishes' for Sharia (Islamic Law) to be implemented in Iraq. As a result, Sistani—supporting women in the Iraqi Parliament are putting forth his repressive agenda. (From the Times of London, "Iraq's women of power who tolerate wife—beating and promote polygamy"):
And when Sistani posted this fatwa about gays on his website,
During the recent conflagration between Israel and the Shi'ite jihad terrorist organization (and Iranian proxy) Hezbollah, Baghdad was the scene of the largest pro—Hezbollah demonstration in the Middle East. This disturbing, if predictable, popular expression of Iraqi Shi'ite sentiments is now being transcended by an overt political alliance between the Iraqi government and the Iranian Shi'ite theocracy, which poses far graver dangers.
President Bush's noble rhetoric was eerily reminiscent of the same misplaced optimism expressed 70 years ago by the British Arabist S.A. Morrison. Despite great expense of British blood and treasure, more than a decade of military occupation, and even after the Assyrian massacres (by Arab and Kurdish Muslims) of 1933—34, shortly after Britain's withdrawal, Morrison wrote, (in 'Religious Liberty in Iraq', Moslem World, 1935, p. 128):
Over seven decades later, the goals of true 'liberty and equality' for Iraq remain just as elusive after yet another Western power has committed great blood and treasure toward that end. More ominously, Iraq's newly empowered Shi'ites and their leaders appear to have forged an unholy alliance with Iran which is more likely to promote Sharia despotism, than liberal democracy.
Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad.