Iraqi civilians killed by British troops court case


This video says about itself:

The inquiry into the brutal murder of an Iraqi civilian at the hands of British soldiers has finished for the year. But for his family, questions still remain.

Baha Mousa was left with horrific injuries while in military custody in Basra.

His father has been in London to give evidence, and spoke to Al Jazeera’s Jessica Baldwin.

Lawyers representing three Iraqi families have brought High Court proceedings against the Ministry of Defence over its failure to properly investigate the alleged killing of their relatives by British troops: here.

No free speech in ‘new’ Iraq; video here.

Five US soldiers were killed in a wave of violence that claimed at least 20 other lives across Iraq Monday: here.

Peter Van Buren, TomDispatch: “From that ancient debris field, recall the almost forgotten run-up to the American invasion, the now-ridiculous threats about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Secretary of State Colin Powell lying away his own and America’s prestige at the U.N., those ‘Mission-Accomplished’ days when the Marines tore down Saddam’s statue and conquered Baghdad, the darker times as civil society imploded and Iraq devolved into civil war, the endless rounds of purple fingers for stage-managed elections that meant little, the Surge and the ugly stalemate that followed, fading to gray as President George W. Bush negotiated a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011 and the seeming end of his dreams of a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East. Now, with less than seven months left until that withdrawal moment, Washington debates whether to honor the agreement, or – if only we can get the Iraqi government to ask us to stay – to leave a decent-sized contingent of soldiers occupying some of the massive bases the Pentagon built hoping for permanent occupancy”: here.

U.S. prepares dangerous Iraq exit: here.

11 thoughts on “Iraqi civilians killed by British troops court case

  1. Islamic Sects of IRAQ: Their Background and Socio-Political Aspiration Tariq Al-Khudayri A Prominent Iraqi Intellectual EX UN SENIOR OFFICIAL Islamic Sects of Iraq, Their background and Socio-political Aspiration is a deep study and very useful to anyone who is interested in such topics. Hence we would like to distribute to our friends. It is the point of view of the author himself. Preface In an interview which appeared in the Newsweek (Issue Dec.28, 2009), conducted by Fareed Zakareya, General David Petraus said, “The new Iraqi regime, with our tacit approval, disempowered the Sunni elite. That elite had run the Army, the bureaucracy, the state run industries…creating the impression among the Sunni (population) that they had been dispossessed in the new Iraq. Many of the Sunnis who were cast out were western educated, understood how the country ran. They are much more secular. We thrust some of them into the insurgent camp…” Such remarks represent the truth but did not give a complete picture of the demographic characteristics of Iraq Arab population. To elaborate on that, one has to point out that a large number of the Iraqi Shi’a are highly educated and secular in their outlook regarding the State institution. Furthermore, they had been involved in running the country’s affairs even during the last regime, although their presence in the high level State’s hierarchy was low. The other point in this respect is related to the insurgency when he gave the impression that only the Arab Sunni Moslems were involved. The fact is that one of the major Shi’a Organizations, the Sadirites whose mentors were executed by Saddam regime, was very active in resisting the Allies’ occupation. Of course one may understand that General Petraus, being a high ranking American Officer would not admit fully that the occupation authority created a power vacuum and set the stage for sectarian division even before the invasion when Iraqi people were suffering from the economic sanction imposed by the Allies. It should be maintained that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was planned by the US and Britain mainly for maintaining their hegemony in the Middle East region and not for instituting a model democratic regime in Iraq. In preparing for the war, their governments sought the backing of Iraqi national groups who were resentful of its totalitarian regime. To do so, they played heavily on the atrocities of Saddam on religious sectarian and ethnic bases, to line up an internal block whose suffering was highly publicized to support the invasion, while distracting the public opinion regarding the real intention of the war. Hence, they approached the two major Muslim Shi’a parties whose leadership was abroad, in addition to the two major Kurdish parties who had been exercising an autonomous rule in a specified region in the northern part of Iraq under the protection of above mentioned Western powers since the early nineties. That approach gave the impression that there was no other serious local opposition to Saddam’s regime from the Arab Muslim Sunni population, because he was a Sunni himself. With that in mind, the average Western citizen took it for granted that there is a lasting hostility between the Shi’a and the Sunni population, as if they were of two different ethnicities or antagonist’s factions. In general, the Western citizen is not familiar with fact that the Shi’a and Sunni population have lived in Iraq harmoniously regardless of their theocratic differences as Muslims. As a matter of fact, he has no clear concept of Islam as a spiritual movement with a social program that initiated statehood for a nation. More so, the ambiguity in the mind of the average Western citizen regarding the level of development of the state where Muslims are majority is augmented by fabricated tales regarding the suffering of small minorities such as Arab Christians in Muslims countries. Accordingly, Islam as a religion and the differences among its different sects have been overlooked or built upon to support the negative views of Western fanatics regarding Muslim nations, such as Iraq whose population is made up of different ethnicities but the majority follow one of the two major sect doctrines of Islam, Shi’a and Sunna. The following short essay is meant to elaborate on the theocratic dogma of the two major Islamic sects, starting with a brief review of their background and the development of their philosophies, while outlining their approach to statehood with national identity in modern Iraq. Historical Background Around the year 610 ac, a respected member of a well known Mekkan tribe, Quraish, started his mission at the age of 40, as a messenger of God like Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, to institutionalize a monotheistic religion with human principles to improve the status of the tribal society in the Arabian Peninsula. During the first thirteen years of his spiritual mission while evolving a theology, he was met with strong resistance by most people including the majority of his own tribe who had their own separate deities in the city of Mekka, with only a few hundred converts believing in his revelation as an Apostle of God (Rasool Allah). After his migration to Yathreb (later named el-Madina; the city i.e. city of the Prophet) in 622ac at the invitation of its notables where a Jewish community had been well established, his mission picked up momentum and he assumed the role of a socio-political leader fighting his opponents to preserve the decent values of his spiritual mission. By the year 630 ac, Mekka surrendered to him, an event that promoted massive submission of most Bedouin tribes to his leadership, although in some cases it was nominal rather than being a genuine belief in his spiritual mission. When he died in 632 ac, he had managed to bring nearly all the tribes of Arabia into a new united community (Ummah) that follows his spiritual teachings and beliefs in one God. It should be noted that Quraish was a powerful tribal conglomeration with the houses of Hashim and Ummaya among its highly recognized notables, the first as the custodian of the Ka’aba, the deity shrine in Mekka, while the other was a leading powerful trading aristocracy. After the death of Prophet Mohammed, a wave of civil arguments initiated by tribal attitude toward leadership and augmented by human greed for power, set the stage for political struggle with less emphasis on the spiritual side of his teaching. But the struggle did not threaten the theocratic state that he institutionalized, although it led at a later date to civil strife and wars long before the theological philosophies were developed and became issues for division. To avoid disintegration with a major split among the faithful, Abu Bakr, Mohammed’s long life companion was nominated by Omar Ibn al-Khatab, a distinguished Muslim, as a compromise candidate. A few of the faithful were disappointed because they wanted Ali bin Abi Talib, Mohammed’s closest cousin, protégé and son-in-law who was since childhood a true Muslim believer, to be assigned as the successor. It was known that Ali had worked hard to pursue and uphold the new religion’s justice principle in every direction, including equality among believers irrespective of race and creed. Ali’s supporters (Shi’at Ali), also believed in his succession in accordance with the tribal code of inherited leadership that specifies the closest person alive to the deceased leader, and that Muhammad had recognized him as such in his farewell speech, although not in so many words. Hence, the split in opinion was based on a political rather than doctrinal argument which heralded the division. Ali, although disappointed, perused his way as a true Muslim when Abu Bakr assumed the role of Khalifa (Caliph; successor) to Mohammed in running the affairs of the Muslims’ community. As a caliph, his leadership was marred by tribal insurgency which was contained. Before his death, and after consulting Mohammed’s companions, he nominated Omar as a successor. Ali was by passed for the second time. Omar, the first caliph to be called amir al-mu’minin (prince of the faithful), had made his mark as a political leader who set the outline for a State. Rising to prominence without any advantages of birth or military distinction, he became an enthusiastic believer in the cause of Islam, relying on Mohammed’s teaching and interpretation of the Qur’an. He shared Ali’s notion that faith and Islamic teaching upheld genuine piety and detested personal luxury. During 633-642, he organized armies of Bedouin Arabs to invade Mesopotamia which was under the domination of the Persians, and also Syria and Egypt which were under the East Roman Empire’s domain, thus setting the foundation for an Arab-Islamic Empire. Arab Christian tribes such as Taghlub fought along side the Muslim Arab army against the Persians. Among his other initiatives as a political philosopher, was the adoption of the Islamic Hejri calendar to identify and coordinate the functions of the newly formed extended state. Omar was assassinated by a Persian prisoner of war for restroying his nation’s Empire, a notion shared by his compatriots and left its marks on their relationship with the newly formed Arab state, but not in respect to Islam as a religion. After he was mortally wounded, Omar summoned the surviving inner circle of Mohammed’s comrades who were his consultative team that included Ali bin Abi Talib, as an electoral college to elect from among themselves a successor, according to Mohammed’s principles of consultation (shura). Once again Ali, the most pious of them all, was by-passed when O’thman, another old comrade of Mohammed was elected as a caliph. Ali did not contest the result of the consultation and adhered to the principle that Islam, as an institution has done away with the old tribal inheritance code regarding leadership. O’thman, the new caliph, belonged to the aristocratic house of Ummaya who were the advert opponents of their cousins, the house of Hashim to whom Mohammed and Ali belong. Although Othman was among the first converts to Islam, he did not prevail as a leader and was accused of deviating from the humanitarian principles of Islam in equality and justice, and of being biased toward his clan. That resulted in turmoil and instigated a sever conspiracy (fitna), which led to his assassination in 656 ac. The surviving members of Mohammed’s consultative team or closest comrades, nominated Ali as the new caliph. Ali’s reign was marred by challenges to his leadership, starting with an insurgency in southern Iraq led by two of his old comrades and Aisha, the widow of Mohammed. After he managed to suppress that revolt, he was faced by a challenge in Syria led by the head of Ummaya clan, Mu’awiya, who had been governor of that district. By that time, Ali had moved his capital from Madina to Kufa in Iraq. Muawiya, whose family was forced to become Muslims after the surrender of Mekka, lost the war against Ali’s army, but retained his position via an arbitration scheme imposed on Ali. That led to an uprising against Ali by some of his own followers who thought he should not have accepted the arbitration because it challenged his authority as a leader elected by consultation in accordance with Mohammed’s teaching. Ali fought and won the battle against that group who had been known as al-Khawarej (the departing out-flanks). However, being fanatically pious in their interpretation of the Islamic codes (sudna), the al-Khawarej clan assassinated Ali soon after. Their philosophy developed later in stages, forming a republican theosophy which appealed to the Bedouin’s nature. Some of their followers managed to control the state of Oman, and momentarily a state in Algeria. During all civil disturbances and the instigated great conspiracy (al-fitna al-kubra), the non-Arab converts, specifically the Persians, had taking Ali’s side due to his adherence to Islam’s equality principles against his opponents, especially the Ummaya dynasty who led the Arab state for about ninety years and expanded its domain far beyond the Middle East. After his assassination in 661 ac, Ali, the last of the four elected heads of the state, the so called Orthodox Caliphs (al-Khulafa’ al-Rashedoon, the rightly guided caliphs), was buried in Nejaf (Iraq) where his tomb became the first revered shrine of the Shi’a. Hasan, Ali’s eldest son, was nominated as a caliph by Ali’s partisan (Shi’at Ali), but he abdicated to Mu’awiya, the head of the Ummaya clan. Mu’awiya, although not one of the old true believers in Mohammad’s spiritual message, assumed the role of Caliph and ruled the Islamic theocratic state as a political leader, setting the stage for a heredity style Arab monarchy whose empire expanded its domain from the border of China to that of France, with Damascus as his capital. When he died in 680 ac, his son and heir, Yazid was challenged by Hussain, Ali’s second son. At the order of Yazid, Hussain was killed along with seventy of his male supporters on Oct. 10, 680 ac, by Ummaya’s army which was led by one of Ali’s relatives in the battle of Karbala (Iraq). His tomb in that city is one of the most revered Shi’a shrines. Development of the Sectarian Theosophy of Islam During the Ummaya rule which ended in 750 ac. when defeated by the Abbasides, a descendant dynasty of Mohammed’s uncle, Abbas, a number of insurgencies and revolutions took place, with some of them almost succeeded in changing the course of history. As far as Ali’s partisans’ armed insurgencies led by some of his descendents against Ummaya’s rule, one left its mark as a revolution with theocratic principles. That one was the abortive uprising in Iraq led by Zaid, one of Hussain’s grandsons, whose followers are known as the Zaidia (or Zaidis). Zaid himself was killed by Ummaya’s army, and his followers moved to Mekka and later on to Yemen to establish a state in due course of time. Toward the end of the Ummaya’s dynasty rule and during the early days of the rule of their rivals, the Abbasides dynasty who took over the helm of the Arab Islamic Empire, the major theocratic course of the Shi’a sect started to shape up when Ja’far al-Sadeq, Zaid’s nephew, outlined a new philosophical approach for Islamic teachings based on Ali’s interpretation and dogmatic behavior. As a highly respected theologian, al-Sadiq is considered the Sixth Shi’a Imam and those who follow his theocratic principles are known as the Ja’faria (later, also known as Ithna Asharia) Shi’a. However, after al-Sadiq’s death (766 ac.), a number of schisms took place within his followers at different times, leading to new movements each with its own philosophical interpretation of the theocratic state and its leadership. But only one of those movements beside the main stream Ja’faria had a great impact on history. That was the Ismailia, whose initiation began in defiance to the assignment of Musa al-Kadhem, one of al-Sadiq’s younger sons, as the seventh Imam instead of the son of Ismail, al-Sadiq’s eldest son, who was a learned scholar but had died during his father’s life time. Ali al-Ridha, the son of al-Kadhem became the eighth Imam when his father died. For a short period of time, he was chosen as an heir apparent to the Arab Islamic Empire by the Abbasside caliph, al-Mamoon, son of Haroon al-Rashid. Al-Mamoon was backed by the Persian’s elite at the beginning. But after a short period of time, while subscribing to the Mu’tazelas’ philosophy, he had al-Ridha eliminated in 819 ac. By then, al-Ridha had already published his thesis that augmented his grandfather’s spiritual ideology, hence formalizing the Shi’a theosophy. After that, the main branch of Ja’faria tried to keep a low profile but without giving up the idea that the theocratic leadership (Imama) is confined only to the eldest son of each generation after al-Kadhim. However when the twelfth Imam al-Mahdi disappeared as a child in a mosque in Samara (Iraq) around 874/875 ac, the hereditary line of Ali’s descendents as the blessed Imams, the God’s gifted leaders of the theocratic state according to the Ja’faria Shi’a, had ended. From that date onward, the main Shi’a line, the Ja’faria had also been known as the Twelvers (ithna asharia). All following Shi’as’ uprisings were supposed to have been carried out by a recognized member of the Shi’a religious Seminary (Marji’ia) in the name of the disappeared or absent Imam al-Mahdi. But all were doomed to failure. The same fate met earlier uprisings which were led by some descendents of Ali, starting with al-Hussain’s and Zaid’s revolts which were mentioned earlier, and those led by the following Shi’a political movements such as the Kaissania who supported Mohammad bin Hanafia, Hussain’s half brother instead of Hussain’s young son Ali Zain al-Abidin. Other important failed revolts in this context include the one led by Mohammad al-Nafs al-Zakia, one of Hasan’s great grandsons as well as the later one of their descendents, the Idrisies who escaped to North Africa and established a semi-independent state after their uprising had failed During the second Islamic century, and while the Abbasids rule was asserting itself, the Sunni’s canonical schools began to develop, starting with that of Abu Hanifa (died in 767 ac.) who was a contemporary of Ja’afar al-Sadik. Although their philosophical thesis differs, yet they were in frequent consultation and dialogue with no apparent disagreement regarding the state’s politics. The founders of the other three major Sunni canonical schools beside Abu Hanifa were Ibin Anas, al-Shafi’i, and Ibin Hanbal who died in 855 ac. During the Abbasid’s rule, the Shi’a was no more than a tolerated minority under surveillance by the state. Some of their highly respected religious figures were imprisoned as suspects aiming for a theocratic state under their domain. For this reason, the doctrine of the disappearance of the Twelfth Imam was accepted by moderate Shi’a of the day who thought it might prevent further reprisal by the Abbasides’ rulers against their peers. When the Buyids, the powerful Persian Shi’ite dynasty seized the state power in Baghdad during 945-1055 ac. without dismissing the Abbaside caliph or challenging the Sunni domain, they improved the status and legal rites of the Shi’a. During their mandate, the Imama doctrine of the Ja’faria Shi’a began to be professed publicly. That status did not change when the Turkish Sunni Saljuks occupied Baghdad in 1055 ac. and took over the helm without dismissing the Abbaside caliph. During their mandate, the Saljuks supported the Sunni orthodoxy but ordered all Moslems’ theologians not to indulge themselves in the further interpretation of the holly script. All Sunni’s schools obliged, but the Shi’a continued discreetly. The Shi’a rebellions against the state were very frequent, but always failed to achieve their goal in having the religious-political authority be held by one of Ali’s descendents or whoever represents them. One rebellion in Iraq that led briefly to having a short lived state during the Turkaman’s rule in mid fifteenth century was that of Musha’sha’. The Isma’ilia, who also known as the Seveners because they believe that the Shi’a Imama line ended with Isma’il as the seventh Imam and not with the twelfth Imam, had indulged themselves in cultural studies and philosophy. The most important outcome of their movement was organizing an underground political movement that led eventually to the establishment of their Fatimite state in North Africa in 909 ac. before settling in Egypt in 973 ac. and building Cairo as their capital with its Azhar mosque. That state which flourished and challenged the Sunni Abbasside regime in Baghdad both politically and culturally, was dissolved in 1169 ac. by Salah el-Din al-Ayoubi. Since then, the Ismailia followers had no political presence. Their state of mind led to the development of new spiritual movements that incorporates some of the Islamic philosophies but with a new theosophy and Scripture. Among those movements are the Nizari Ismailia, the Druze, and the Hashashins. While the Fatimite state was rising, other satellites of the Arab Islamic Empire declared semi autonomous rules but without challenging the nominal power of the Abbaside caliph except for that of the descendents of Ummaya dynasty who declared their own independence in Andalusia, Spain. Their state, the Ummaya State of the Andalus (Andalusia) which followed the Sunni doctrines, flourished about the same time the Fatimite state did to challenge the Abbasside regime. The other major challenge to the Sunni orthodoxy of the Abbasides state beside the Fatimite’s state was that of the Karmathians who established a communistic oligarchic republic in Bahrain and raided many parts in the Arabian Middle East region including Syria in 902 ac., and also Mekka. With the fall of Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasside dynasty at the hands of the Mongols led by Hulagu, Gangese Khan’s grandson in 1258 ac., the Islamic Arab Empire literally came to an end. Islamic Religious Sects Islam as a spiritual ideology underlines most of all the transcendent of God whose divine presence encountered in the Qur’an when recited. The mandated worship rituals, which are termed as the five pillars of Islam, emphasize the immanent presence of God. A true Moslem believes that the Qur’an is an uncreated holy script revealed to Mohammad by the arch-angel Gabriel over a period of almost 23 years. Hence, it is in a way the word of God (kalam-u Allah) that forms the basis of the Moslem spiritual beliefs and guides him through good living once it is well comprehended. Its final authoritative version was produced as a complete text during the rule of O’thman, the third of the four rightly guided (Orthodox) caliphs who died in 656 ac. The text of the Qur’an addresses three main themes: God and his mighty theism; Worship rituals to assert the believer’s recognition of, and obedience to God’s Will; and the Ideal approach of human beings for better social order. The titled sections (chapters; suwar) of the holy book are not arranged in a literary order or set to address separately these themes. Rather, while each chapter underline specific topic, there might be reference to components incorporated in those themes when some issues are interrelated or their message’s objectives overlap in meaning or aim. Hence, the philosophy and metaphysics of the spiritual message are treated in a different manner than that of a text book. Some chapters incorporate ancient tales similar, or in line with those presented in the holy books of Judaism and Christianity, while stressing the overall theme of human behavior and God’s Will. Reference to names or events incorporated in those tales is usually stated in a reverent manner. Contrary to what is being noted by fanatics, the Qur’an never stressed the idea of war against others except for defending the faith. The scripture of the Qur’an, is voluminous and presented in a high literary Arabic language incorporating connotations that might have not been well apprehended by the average Bedouin Arab. Hence, interpretation of the text especially in regard to the administration of its divine law (Shari’a) became imperative for understanding its fundamental principles. When the Prophet Muhammad was alive, his pronounced idioms (hadith) in defining the particulars of his message or while answering queries regarding theology and ethics, and his habitual behavior (sunna) took care of that. After his death, the community relied on what was reported or explained by his close early companion (sahaba) on the basis of their full consensus (ijmaa’) regarding the issue in question or its close analogue (quiays). When the Arab Islamic state expanded its borders way beyond the Arabian Peninsula, Moslem scholars came in contact with well developed ancient cultures such as that of the Greeks, Persians, Indians …etc. That led to the development of an innovative culture whose merits imposed an in-depth interpretation of the holy script that goes beyond its literal meaning. Consequently, different theological schools were initiated and philosophical arguments began to prevail toward the end of the first Islamic century. Among the first of those schools was a group of learned Muslims, the Kaderites, who championed the capability of the human being and his free will in directing his destiny The Kaderites thesis challenged the argument of another learned group, the Jabria, the upholders of predestination of the human being, who insisted that destiny is always forced on human beings. The latter group’s argument suited the ruling Ummaya caliphs since in principle it discouraged any challenge to their state authority. The dialogue between those two schools of thought that dealt indirectly with the interpretation of the holly text, paved the way for the philosophical approach of the Mu’tazela. The Mu’tazela was a group of Islamists’ intellectuals who separated, or to be more precise isolated themselves from the main fold of Muslim theologians in Iraq. They were the founders of speculative dogmatic in Islam with their prevailing liberal theology. They faced heavy criticism for their thesis that the Qur’an had been created by God’s Will, and hence it could be interpreted by human mind which is also a creation of God, to suit changing circumstances. Accordingly, free thinking ought to be encouraged for interpreting the message of God as contained in the Qur’an. Furthermore, the Mu’tazela insisted that the human mind should be one of the sources for interpreting Islamic theology beside the model of Prophet Mohammad and also the approach of his early companions while interpreting the Qur’anic text’ particulars. The Mu’tazela’s main theme was to encourage investigation and discussion in order to free Islam from theological dogmatism, thus making the Qur’an better understood as allegory to stimulate rational thinking rather than a literal fact being imposed. Their movement set the basis for scholastic theocracy (ijtihad) whereupon the jurisprudence became widely opened for contest in establishing the authority for interpretation. Such intellectual rebellion which influenced all major religious sects, became a cause of political challenge to the state which decided during the fifth Islamic century to outlaw the free thinking approach in devising public policies. All four major Sunni sub-sects (feraq) obliged and assumed their old dogma principles once again. But the Shi’a theologians who were not officially recognized at that time, kept on following the free-mind approach of the Mu’tazela, but not openly. To avoid any problems for their notions, the Shi’a adopted a non-openly recognized principle of concealing their ideals (taquia). It should be noted that all theology schools of Islam had concerned themselves with the interpretation of the holly scripture to understand the basics of their religion for directing their way of living and beliefs, especially in respect of the formulation of public policy when the state and faith merge as inseparable entities. Hence, the presence of a sovereign Islamic authority is imperative for the application of religion principles as a divine law to guide human behavior and induce specific culture rather than being just an act of faith. As such, the Islamic state structure could never be defined as a secular state with the public in general as the source of legislation. Rather, the Islamic community was considered a brotherhood entrusted with running its affairs as a nation (umma). By the time the Mu’tazela induced its philosophy that dealt indirectly with this subject, the Khawarej and the Zaidia made explicit reference to its importance while spearheading their revolts. Moslems in general are recognized in terms of their identity as members of, or affiliated with one sub-sect of the major theological schools of Islam; Sunna, Shi’a or Batinia. The Batinia sects (firaq) are usually guided by esoteric interpretation of the Qur’an. Among them are the Ismai’lia, the Alawis, the Druze…etc. most of whom were off-shoots of the Shi’a sect and who withdrew in stages from its main stream. The main Shi’a sects (or sub-sects, firaq) are the Zaidia, the Ismai’lia (the Seveners) and the Ja’afaris (the Ja’faria or Twelvers). While the Zaidia have been mainly in Yemen, the Ja’afaris whose theosophy was developed during the second century of Islam, represents the majority among the Muslim population of Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. The majority of the Muslims in the world are Sunnis, belonging to one of the four major Sunni sub-sects: Hanafi; Shafi’e; Maliki; and Hanbali, which are named after one of the four Sunni theologians whose canonical schools were developed during the second century of Islam too. Interpretation of the Holy text as conveyed by Mohammed’s companion has been a major critical question between Shi’a and Sunni, especially when it comes to the reliability of the sources. In general, most Shi’a refuse to consider Mohammad’s companions having an esteemed place in God’s regards except for Ali. Hence the prestigious status of those companions and their interpretation of the holy script might be questionable. Such argument, and the Ja’faria Shi’a objection to Zaid’s definition regarding the Imam which is mentioned later, led to have them being termed by other Muslims as the Rejectionists (al-Rawafidh). As a retaliatory gesture, the Ja’faria Shi’a accuse some Sunnis of holding animosity toward, or took a stand against (nasabu ala’da’ against) the prestigious members of Mohammad’s household (ahlu al-Bait), specially Ali’s off-springs, and hence call them (al-Nawasseb). The other critical question is the level of incorporating religion and cultural traditions especially when they touch on the degree of association between religion and state sovereignty. For the Shi’a in general, Islamic jurists should have a divinely ordained power to rule as guardians of the society and supreme arbitrators on matters of morality as well as politics. Such attitudes may be noted within some sub-sects of the Sunnis especially among those who are basically fundamentalists. The Sunnis, in general, adhere more to the literal meaning of the Qura’n being the text revealed to Mohammed. For this reason, they are known as the People of Revelation (ahl-u-attanzeel). But the Shi’a, generally speaking, interpret the Qur’an allegorically, hence are known as the People of Allegorical Interpretation (ahl-u-atta’weel). However, the major fundamental difference between the two sides is related mainly to the subject of guiding the Moslem community. For the Sunnis, the head of the community is to defend the faith while implementing the religious law (Shari’a). The Shi’a feels that in addition to the above, he has to interpret the divine message according to the need of the time. Furthermore, the supreme head, Imam, of the Ja’fari Shi’a should be a divinely illuminated person whose inspiration for the esoteric interpretation of the revelation would have been passed on to him through the recognized holy descendants of Prophet Mohammed. Such an argument had been contested by the Zaidia Shi’a ever since the views of their disciple, Imam Zaid, became known around the beginning of the second century of Islam. His main attribute in this respect was when he differentiated between the spiritual leadership of the Revered Imam (al-Imam al-Fadhil), and the community leadership which is open to the one preferred (al-Imam al-mafdool) by the public according to his ability to deal with worldly affairs. The Sunni Dogma and Clergy: The Sunni theologians consider the jurisprudence (divine law; Shari’a) is based on the sacred text of the Qur’an as interpreted by Prophet Mohammed via his teaching or pronounced idioms (hadith) and habitual behavior (sunna) as relayed by his early companions who are referred to as the virtuous predecessors (alsalaf alsaleh). Further interpretation in formulating public policy by their early major theologians who took into consideration the analogue models of the virtues predecessors, constituted the Sunni dogma. In general, the pattern of religious ideology of the Sunni has been to adapt itself to the prevailing existing state structure as long as it is confined to the Islamic teaching presented in the Qur’an as interpreted by their early major theologians. In this respect, the Sunnis think that religion and the state are somehow complementary in running the affairs of the society. Hence, they consider their clergy as a respected authority specialized in legalistic judiciary matters to serve the society and support the state in guiding the population, while upholding religious heritage. Moreover, their religious officials are usually appointed and salaried by the Government for all recognized levels including the post of the religious court judge (qadhi). This gives the impression that Sunnis jurisprudence has to adapt its social behavior and political views to be in line with those of the state authority. But this is not completely true since there were cases when rebellious ideology had been adopted by Sunni clergy when the central authority failed to observe religious basics. The Sunni clergy is usually selected on the merit of their socio-religious status as recognized by the society for their good behavior and scholastic knowledge of the Quran according to the Sunna principle of teaching. As such, the Sunnis Imam is considered a scholar who functions as a learned man with no divine qualities. The Shi’a Authoritative Principles: Islam in general has never known or had an ecclesiastical council as in the Christian community. However the Shi’a had adopted the principle of having a council of high level religious clergy who form an authority for guiding the community. Furthermore, the Ja’fari Shi’a concept of a meaningful Islamic statehood is when it underlines the importance of the religious community and its practice as dictated by its clergy of the time. Hence the religious authority (Marji’ia) headed by learned scholars is a guiding if not a commanding source of influence on the social behavior and governance of the state. To attend to such task efficiently, their Seminary studies are always developing. Moslems in general incorporate supernatural elements in the worship exercise like other world religions. However, the Ja’faria (the twelvers) Shi’a are more noted for that than the Sunnis, in particular when it comes to recognizing the twelve Imams who are considered of supernatural characteristic with absolute perfection entity. Hence their mode of prayer involves elements of adoring the Imams, to complement the faith part of the rituals. An important example in this respect is the saga of Imam al-Hussain whom they consider as the grand martyr in Islam because he was killed while on a rightful mission against those who wrested the Islamic state leadership modeled by Mohammad, and imposed a heredity style rule. Furthermore, they believe in the resurrection of the absent twelfth Imam, al-Mahdi (the guiding one), who vanished or disappeared in the Samarra mosque (Iraq) and whose return will fill the earth with peace and justice (Messianic style). Some Sunnis subscribe to the idea of al-Mahdi’s return but without identifying him. But other major factions of Shi’a, like the Zaidis, do not share this notion. Al-Mahdi was the son of the eleventh Imam, Hasan al-Askari and his converted Christian wife. With the exception of Ali who is the first Imam, and his two sons; Hasan and Hussain from his wife, Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed, as the second and third Imams, the rest of the twelve Imams were direct descendants of Hussain and his wife, the daughter of the last king of Persia. No matter how old the hailed Imam was when his father died, he is considered to be qualified as a learned theologian with theocratic state leadership capabilities. Furthermore, he is considered infallible and an impeccable sinless (ma’asoom) human being who rises above the average. Hence, each of the twelve Imams is somehow a disciple of God’s order. Moreover, Fatima, is revered by the Shi’a as Mary is revered by Catholic and Orthodox Churches. In line with the above convictions, no state government should be recognized by the observant Shi’a community unless it is led by one who represents al-Mahdi. Such dogma was a source of problems for the Shi’a population since the early days of the powerful Arab-Islamic state which was usually controlled by Sunnis. As a result, the Twelvers practiced some sort of concealment of their religious methodical notion (dissimulation, taquia) as a mode of survival. The senior clergy of the Shi’a have more influence on the followers of their faith than the Sunni’s clergy. A Shi’a cleric, while considering that the clergy institution should have the power of guiding the state authority, commits himself to achieve the theocratic state that would be addressed by a supreme spiritual leader who will be a source of emulation (marj’e, ayatu-Allah) committing himself for a just and equitable reign to all Moslems. In this context, the idea of the state rule of the clerics through a supreme-authority or jurisprudent (wilayat al-faqih) was developed. The Shi’a most important scholarship centers (hawza) of Nejaf (Iraq) and Qum (Iran) are the main places for initiating theological rulings. In both centers the Iranian theologians have had a significant presence that influences their followers and their socio-political behavior in the two countries. Rise in the Shi’a clergy hierarchy is usually based on academic theological merits as determined by their peers after passing a scholarship exercise in one of the main religious centers. A true member of the Shi’a community would abide by the rulings of a recognized hawza clergy of his own choice on individual basis and through whom theoretically speaking he should pay 20% of his income to the Seminary. Hence the Shi’a clergy are independent financially and administratively from the state hegemony. Sunna and Shi’a Population of Modern Iraq After the fall of Baghdad in 1258 ac. which technically speaking ended the Arab Islamic empire, Iraq was ruled by the Mogols first, then by Turkuman (Turkish Sunni) dynasties for about two centuries before being taken over by the Safawis, a Persian Shi’a dynasty that made the Immama Shi’ism the official religion of the state. Such mode imposed difficult life on the Sunni population in both Iran and Iraq. After tediously waged wars and exchange of brutal control of Baghdad and other major cities since the sixteenth century, the Sunni Ottomans of Asia Minor (Turky) managed to drive away the Safawis and occupy Iraq from 1638 ac. until 1918 ac, when driven away by the British during the First Word War. When the Persian Safawis managed to occupy Iraq briefly and during their intermittent raids and clashes with the ruling Ottoman’s hierarchy who favored the Sunni population, they left their mark as a Shi’a power and made their point to uplift the situation of the Shi’a population. The exchange of foreign dominance and atrocities between those two foreign powers left its negative impact on the relationship among the population of the two sects within Iraq. However, the initiative of the Persian ruler to summon Iraqi theologians from both sides led to convening a special conference in the Shi’a holy city of Nejaf. That conference calmed down the situation when Shi’aism was recognized for the first time as one of the major five Islamic sects, by mid eighteenth century. Since the Nejaf Conference, mass conversion from the Sunni to the Shi’a doctrines among the Arab tribes to the south of Baghdad was noted. In general, such move which was encouraged by the Safawis for their own reasons might also be attributed to the negative attitude of the Ottoman’s toward Iraqi population in general but more so toward the Shi’a, while sustaining their position as the rightful heir to the old Islamic empire and pushing Turkish language to replace Arabic in running official and even social affairs. But the Ottomans could not maintain a high profile in the Shi’a holy cities of Iraq where spiritual notions and well situated religious schools upholding Arabic being the language of the Qur’an against foreign culture invasion. In the meantime, the religious Shi’a missionaries, backed by their powerful hierarchy were very active in stimulating conversion from Sunni to Shi’a sects, by underlining the threat of the Turkish hegemony over the Arabs. During the Ottomans’ rule of Iraq, the latter’s Sunni population was favored in terms of public and army posts. The Shi’a population in general stayed out of the state activities most likely out of conviction in the illegitimacy of the Ottoman’s Sunni state affairs that discouraged their participation, or because they were influenced by their own religious peers. However, when Great Britain marched its army into Iraq to fight the Ottomans during the First World War, the Shi’a hierarchy took a stand against the invasion and sided with the Ottoman army on the bases that an Islamic state being challenged. Further, when the British occupied Iraq as a colonial power, Shi’a tribes led an armed revolution in 1920 with the support of a sizable faction of the population. That revolution, and in conjunction with an organized political movement led by well educated personalities and supported by a good percentage of the Arab Shi’a and Sunni population, resulted in the formulation of modern Iraq. It is to be recalled that during the First World War, when the British government approached Sherif Hussain of Mekka to support their military mission against the Ottomans, promising him to help in realizing the establishment of an Arab state under his leadership, the army which he commissioned for that purpose led mostly by Iraqi Sunni officers who had defected from the Ottoman’s army. Needless to say, the British did not keep their promise, as the northern parts of the Arabian Peninsula were placed under the British and the French in accordance with the Sykes-Picot agreement. But after the above mentioned revolution, the British decided to install a monarchy with Faisal, one of Hussain’s sons as a king while applying their mandate for controlling Iraq, as stipulated by the Allies’ major powers. The reception of the Shi’a population in general to that plan was lukewarm at the beginning, although Faisal claims his direct ascendancy to Prophet Mohammad. But, the bulk of the Iraqi none-Muslim population and small factions of Muslims preferred a direct rule by the British while a small minority of educated Iraqis called for the establishment of a republic. To give legitimacy to their plan, the British government sought a plebiscite to determine the acceptance of their scheme by the people. The referendum did not pass with an outright majority because the Kurds in the north and a high percentage of the Arab Shi’a in southern Iraq did not participate in that exercise. Still Faisal was installed as a king on the 23rd. of August 1921 to pave the way for the establishment of a monarchy state which he managed efficiently while asserting the principle of nationalism that was meant to replace tribal and religious allegiance in the long run. The bulk of the Arab Sunni population of Iraq went along with the newly established government which was run mostly by their well trained followers, some of whom had served under the Ottomans before. Hence, during the monarchy, Sunni officers and administrators monopolized the political and military high posts, even when members of the Shi’a community became qualified. It is to be noted that some Shi’a theologians discouraged their followers from participation in the newly installed state government at the beginning, although highly respected Shi’a personalities approved the newly formed state monarchy, and some of them became very influential in steering its politics. The British government, after imposing its treaty that binds Iraq to its interest and having the petroleum exploration contract signed by its first elected state Establishment Council even before the ratified state constitution was published in 1925, allowed Iraq to be recognized as an independent state in 1932 and join the League of Nations. Still the interference of the British in Iraq politics maintained its course, a fact that led to a revolution-like and war events during the Second World War that resulted in the British second occupation of the country in 1941. During the last decade of the Monarchy period, effective political movement began to prevail, enhanced by the large number of college graduates from all factions of the population who finished their studies locally or abroad. Political parties were formed and pursued their ideals toward a democratic state. But the regime’s negative attitude toward real democracy induced the idea of a revolution. Underground and open political parties representing a spectrum from the far right to the far left, i.e. monarchists, independent nationalists, Pan-Arab nationalists, socialists or communists, etc., characterized the political scene of Iraq during the last decade of the Monarchy. The leadership and rank and file membership of those parties included Iraqi nationals of different religious and ethnic groups. But there were no religious parties. Alliances among some of those parties materialized after the pro-Western military treaty of the Baghdad Pact was signed in mid-fifties under the US-British influence. Still there was no threat by civil uprising to the government, and all attempts to over throw the government were carried out by the army whose high ranking officers were mainly Sunnis. The 1958 revolution which was supported by the centre-left parties and a tangible percentage of the cities’ population disposed of the Monarchy and brought an end to the British and US influence in Iraq. Although the revolution was not characterized by any sectarian or even religious approach, still it did not achieve its goals where the nation could have pursued its drive to institutionalize a democratic secular state. The shortfalls that led to such failure may be attributed in general to: Foreign countries schemes that encouraged counter revolutions; Tribal traditions and the Individualist characteristic of the average Iraqi whose level of education has not served its purpose in taming personal emotions. Furthermore, events that might have set the stage for progress were interrupted when some religious leadership, mostly Shi’ites, became verbal in casting doubt on the good intention of any progressive movement with a clear concept of a nation with a secular state. As noted above, the Sunni dominance of modern Iraqi politics can be traced to the Ottoman’s period. Such dominance however, did not extend to the private business-commercial sectors, with the Shi’a in general supported by their well organized community establishment, concentrating their efforts on business. However, in due course neither the Sunni nor the Shi’a principles influenced the civic society associations that emerged, such as the trade unions, because political ideology played the major role in determining their programs. With high level of academic education, more Shi’a became active in the political life, but only few had ascended to high level governments’ administrative posts. However, the 1958 Revolution created a better atmosphere for equal opportunity among all factions of the society. Still, the middle class of the Shi’a population had the feeling that their share in running the government was not in proportion to their population. It should be noted that a high percentage of the Shi’a population live outside the cities with very low education level and influence on the political life as they were marginalized by their tribal leaders until the 1958 Revolution. However, the undeclared debate continued between the religious hierarchy of the Sunnis and the Shi’a as they define the state legitimate existence differently according to the principles each observe regarding the involvement of religious authority in the state affairs. While Sunnis are a majority in the Muslim world, in Iraq the Shi’a eventually became the majority, although the vast majority of the Iraqi Kurds and the Turkumans ethnicities are Sunnis. Within the Arab population of Iraq, the Sunni and Shia doctrines are not related to any ethnic or racial differences, although the vast majority of those Iraqis with Iranian roots are Shi’a. The vast majority of the Shi’a in Iraq belongs to the Ja’fari sub-sect, while the majority of the Iraqi Sunnis follow the Hanafi theology school which is named after the revered theologian Abu Hanifa, who was of a Persian origin. He was known to have taken a stand against the Abbaside’s rule for not following Islamic principle and was jailed until his death around 767ac, and buried at the Adhamiya district of Baghdad. His doctrine is considered liberal, especially in respect of the state leadership which he believed should be subjected to the will of the community It should be noted that during the modern statehood of Iraq, and in particular during the period 1921-1968, the sectarian issue did not surface as a threatening factor to the tranquility of the society. There were tribal conflicts which led to arm struggles at times, but were of non-sectarian nature, if one dismisses the fact that there were raids by fanatic Sunni tribes from the Arabian Peninsula (Nejd) on Shi’a highly populated cities in middle Euphrates because they consider that Shi’ism is blasphemous. Furthermore, the sectarian factor was not a significant reason regarding the Iraqis’ tribal uprising against the central government. It is hard to recognize the sect of the average Arab Moslem by listening to his dialect which may point out to his township origin. Intermarriages between Moslems of different sects became normal as time went by during the last century, although mainly in cities. Still, individual arguments between members of the two sects in respect of their spiritual belief may surface from time to time as a by product of a personal flare up and quarrels. Such incidents may have intimidated the tranquility of the society but on a limited scale and were usually contained. The grievances of the Shia population started to surface with the formation of some underground movements, such as the Dawa party soon after the Monarchy was displaced. The momentum of such movements increased after the 1968 quo d’ etate which brought the Ba’th Party once again to power. The Ba’th party had controlled the country for about eight months in 1963 after getting rid of the previous regime via severe battles involving army regiments and its reign was characterized with high level of brutality, but definitely not on a sectarian basis. The Ba’th party was established in mid 1940s as a socialist Pan-Arab nationalist movement and secular in its doctrine. A good number of its leadership personnel were Shi’a, while its rank and file in general reflected the make-up of the Arab population of Iraq. There were reservations to its philosophy regarding its objectives for achieving a union or federation of Arab states, mainly from non-Arab ethnic groups including some Shi’a and in particular some of their theologians. When the Ba’th party succeeded in taken over the control of the country in 1968 with a new leadership whose main mover behind the scene was Saddam Tikriti, a terrifying campaign was launched to silence any opposition. Among other relevant actions in that direction, a well advertised scheme for executing publicly a number of people including well known socialites and business individuals from all religious groups was pursued during 1968-1970 period on the basis of treasons or being agents for foreign countries like Iran and the USA. Such a scheme was intensified after the Shah of Iran had abolished in 1969 the 1937 Treaty between Iraq and Iran, which defined the border line between the two countries, especially in the Shat al-Arab river in the south of Iraq. The Ba’th party retaliated to that action with a surge to drive away all Iranian citizens who had been residing in Iraq to their original country. Such an inhuman campaign was directed also toward a large number of naturalized Iraqi Shi’a citizens who had been living in Iraq for generations. That scheme led to an intensive anti-Ba’th feeling among the Shi’a population in general and some of their religious hierarchy. Tension between the Ba’th Party and the Shi’a population during the 1970s escalated especially when the regime’s security forces interfered harshly with religious ceremonial procession while pursuing or even executing some members of their religious hierarchy as well as the leaders of their underground political parties like al-Dawa. Some members of those two groups found refuge in Iran and in Syria. In the 1970s, after the negotiation for semi-autonomous rule in the north of the country failed, the Kurdish insurgency against the Ba’th regime picked up momentum with the help of the Shah of Iran. But when an agreement between the Shah and Saddam was signed in Algiers in 1975, the former stopped his support. The repercussion of that agreement led to an unprecedented action by Saddam against some Iranian Shi’a clerics living in Iraq like al-Khomaini, who were known to be against the Shah, hence were exiled. From there on, the Ba’th regime, with the bulk of its leaders being Sunnis, was targeted by the Shi’a for being the main cause of their predicament. Needless to say, domination of the party leadership by Sunnis is not due to their sect belonging as much as it is for their allegiance to the party whose main theme embraces national socialist program. Still there was good percentage among them whose conviction that Saddam’s personality as a Sunni with a strong feeling regarding tribal ties and clan affinity was the right leader to maintain their self esteem and Arab identity. When Saddam took over the presidency of the country via an unclearly defined scheme, he ordered the execution of over sixty members of the party leadership on the basis that they were conspiring against him with the help of Syria. The purged leaders include Sunnis as well as Shi’a Iraqi citizens. Within about a year from that date, the Iraqi-Iran war broke out. By then the Islamic Republic of Iran that adopted the Shi’a doctrine for a theocratic state, had already disposed of the Shah’s regime. The Iraq-Iran war was promoted mainly by Saddam’s intention to nullify the 1975 treaty which he signed with the Shah of Iran in Algeria and in which he agreed to border adjustment imposed by the Shah. Negotiation with the new regime in Iran regarding that issue failed as the latter whose religious theosophy is beyond the political norms. The outcomes might be translated as a regional religious-ethnic struggle between the two countries that augmented the Shi’a-Sunni tension within Iraq. However, it should be noted that a large majority of the Iraqi army that fought in the war was made up of Shi’a citizens while its senior commanding officers were mainly Sunnis. During that war, Saddam who was supported by the US’s government, became very cautious of the Shi’a politico-religious leadership. While some members of that leadership were jailed or executed, a large number ran away to establish a base in Iran and a recognized presence in Syria. The outcome was the establishment of a new, or strengthening of old Shi’a political parties who were approached by the US and allies to enlist their support for waging a war against Saddam ever since his miserable adventure of invading Kuwait in 1990. Of course, it is a known fact that claiming Kuwait by any government in modern Iraq had been a prohibited taboo as far as the major western powers were concerned. But Saddam did not listen to the voice of history. However, when his army was smashed miserably out of Kuwait by the US army, the latter allowed him to unleash his defeated army against the uprising against his regime in the southern region of Iraq, most of whose components were Shi’a. No such measure was practiced by the US army in the northern region. Saddam’s regime was ruthless and relentless in its approach to maintain its survival and position. His drive toward hegemony disrupted any democratic practice within the country including the one institutionalized at the civic society level. The short lived alliance between the Ba’th Party and the Iraqi Communist Party was sought by Saddam for tactical purposes. In the meantime, he encouraged the return of the old tribal institution which had been diluted ever since the Revolution of 1958. That approach and the discriminating attitude practiced by the party leadership regarding the citizen allegiance to the regime, helped in transferring a relatively calm national behavior to such complex political-religious landscape where the sense of nationalism has reached its lowest level. Such a situation had augmented previously mentioned incidents and led to the prevailing dilemma after the US occupation. The present political leadership in general emerged mainly from the local sectarian divisions and tribal entities enhanced by provincial identities. Unless a wise approach on a country level to provide for a realistic integrated national identity with minimum nepotism, the future may be dark. Concluding Remarks The population of Iraq is a blend of ethnic and religious factions comprising Bedouins, mountaineers, plains and marsh land people, and city dwellers. Relatively speaking, this population lived in a harmonious coexistence for a long time under different state conditions including colonial rule. But now, their tranquil attitude as a nation is being questioned. During the First World War, while promising the Iraqis to liberate them from the Ottoman rule and to qualify them for a place in the civilized world, Britain considered Iraq as its prospective protectorate. Internal resistance forced Britain to accept a mandate for constituting a monarchy state while imposing a long term binding treaty and an oil concession contract with some Allies’ petroleum companies before the constitution was even published. Such mode of action is been reminisced by Iraqis when the USA supported by its major ally, Britain, announced their intention to liberate Iraq from a totalitarian regime and establish a model democracy within the region, via their 2003 war. Of course one may dismiss the fact that President Bush’s crusade which he promised to undertake after the 911 tragic event, vouching for revenge and saying that “..if you are not with us, then you are against us”, ended with the fall of the dictatorship only, a case which he celebrated with his famous remark “mission accomplished”. That mission, whose tragic outcomes is pointing toward an unclear future, resulted in signing a friendship security agreement between the newly formed government of Iraq and the USA, which probably disguises the long term US presence or hegemony over Iraq, while signing oil contracts with friendly nations’ companies. After seven years, the outcome of that mission has not yet brought about stability or security to allow the reconstruction and development of the country. The severe damage to Iraq economic basis as a result of the Allies’ destructive warfare, and also that of the previous two wars, the first of which was fought with the US blessing against Iran, as well as the tedious sanction imposed after the second one left Iraq in a dilemma. The present situation is very critical and definitely different than what it was during the formation of the modern Iraqi state in the twenties of last century. The notion of citizenship which was nursed wisely over a four-to-five decades’ period is being lost as communal rather than national leadership emerged with no clear political ideals. The political complexity landscape is characterized with deteriorated sense of nationalism which took decades to prevail. The present different political constituencies may not succeed in diluting sectarian, religious, or ethnic spoils which were brought about by the US program to pave the way for the invasion. The US high envoy in Iraq after the invasion, Bremer stressed the idea of ethnicity and sectarian differences while dismissing the national army and security forces as well as high administrative level personal, thus allowing a vacuum for looting and lawless behavior. Hence, the present political situation in the country is becoming so shaky in view of the unclear status of the leadership that emerged from the ranks of local Islamic sectarian divisions and tribal factions that picked up momentum or became more apparent since the US invasion. Overthrowing the old order was an easy task. But building a new order is a disparate assignment, taking into consideration the need to maintain if not to regain the basics for tranquil living. Power sharing is a loose term to use in describing a democratic system, especially with an increasingly undemocratic political order relying mainly on ethnic and sectarian religious attitudes and affiliation, and where the definition of majority and minority is not perceived according to political ideals and platforms for achieving a better status for the nation as a whole. Toward the end of the seventies of last century, Iraq was considered as one of the most advanced developing countries by the UN standards. James Baker, the US Secretary of the State during G.W. Bush Sr.’s presidency, warned Saddam in 1991 that unless he pulls back his troops from Kuwait, Iraq will be driven back to the pre-industrial age. Reality in Iraq of to-day illustrates how that warning was translated into action. After all, American policy makers have always been engrossed with the idea of total hegemony over world affairs including the Middle East at any cost. Saddam’s ruthless repression and relentless approach transformed a relatively calm national behavior to severe enmity between different factions. Of course he has eliminated score of his supporters, a high percentage of who were Sunnis even from his own tribes, whenever he suspected a conspiracy against him. But his suspicion of a well organized group that has cohesion with a strong theocratic bond may have promoted his unconscious anti Shi’a feeling. The Shi’a grievance was augmented by their feeling of being targeted because of their sectarian affiliation rather than their sect theocratic ideals regarding the state leadership. That feeling has increased the tension between Sunnis and Shi’a of certain strata of the population although it has not led to an outright flare up. In the past, such a situation had never risen, nor were there cases of intimidation to disturb the general tenor of relations between Sunnis and Shi’as in Iraq. With the prevailing conditions of economic stagnation, unemployment and slow stabilization process based on compromises without understanding the merits of a congenial approach for sharing the responsibility to rebuild the country, further tension might be expected especially when proxy militant groups supported by some neighboring countries as well as by the secret intelligence services of the colonial powers, keep on their tragic task. * References consulted or Quoted include, but not limited to the following: – What is Islam; by W. Montgomry. – A History of Medieval Islam; by J.J. Saunders – The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq; by Hanna Batatu, – Four Centuries of Modern Iraq; by Stephen Hemsley Longrigg, – Republic of Fear; by Samir al-Khalil; – Iraq, the Search for National Identity; Liora Lukitz, – Iraq 1908-1921; The Emergence of a State; by Ghassan Atiyyah (in Arabic) (Also consulted, a number of articles related to the subject and which were written in Arabic) ** The author was professor of Chemical Engineering at the College of Engineering, Baghdad University (1960-1968), also Regional Advisor on Industrial Development in the Arab Middle East region, then Head of the Arab Technical Cooperation Program at the United Nations Industrial Organization, Vienna (1973-1990). LikeLike
  2. Five soldiers die in US base attack

    IRAQ: Resistance forces killed five US soldiers today in an attack on a military base in eastern Baghdad.

    US officials provided few details, saying only that five service members had been killed, but Iraqi sources said that guerillas in a lorry had fired a volley of rockets over concrete barriers into the heavily guarded facility.

    In Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, suicide bombers killed 12 people, nine of them Iraqi soldiers.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/105547

    Like

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