ReflectionsIraq, What will become of it? [Archives:2004/712/Opinion]

February 16 2004

By Yahya Al-Olfi
I have been looking for a title for my column and found none better than “Reflections” as it shall for sure hold all the ideas and issues I might have in mind.
Nowadays, I have been thinking, how will the US pull itself from the Iraqi quagmire? It has promised the entire world that it shall establish democracy in Iraq and set Iraq as a role model for the rest in the Arab world.
Regardless of the American interests in bringing Iraq under its hegemony, how can it establish democracy in such a multi-ethnic and multi-doctrinal society, whose different denominations still divide even the elite?
You have the Shiite majority, who have never ceased complaining from Saddam's oppression, the small but strong Iraqi Sunnis who had to get by with Saddam and have always been the rulers, the Semitic Arab Christians who are in turn belonging to two branches the Caldanites and Assyrians and who do give Iraq its historical flair and a large part of them have fled abroad, the Arab Scripts Believers termed as Sabia'ah (Believing in a prophet named Saleh), the Turkish Community and a significant part of the Kurdish people, and last but not least the Marsh Arabs.
In my humble opinion, the rights of the above denominations should be protected in the constitution, while unfortunately, genuine democracy cannot for the time being be established because of the above and because Iraqis have not reached the level where they can accept stark democracy.
So in my opinion I think that America would do good if it gives the Shiites the right to choose their political leader every four years, and the same applies on the Sunnis and Kurds.
The three chosen leaders of the three major denominations are to be chosen every four years, and Iraq's presidency revolves periodically amongst the said triangle i.e. Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.
The government shall be formed by the chosen president who shall each time appoint a different prime minister from amongst all the other denominations respectively.
I think that such a compromise solution shall be workable, because it is impossible to make the above-mentioned Iraqi multiplicity embrace western-like democracy all of a sudden. But, when the time is ripe, the Iraqis for themselves shall decide where to go from.
I know of many Iraqi intellectuals who have opted for a solution like this but who knows whether the US shall follow this path or revert to its old style of installing juntas.
On the whole, I wish that within a few years, the Americans shall succeed in fulfillment of their moral promises by establishing an exemplary Iraq that can be looked at with admiration by its neighbors, so that terrorists in the region shall lose fervor when they see a prosperous Iraq. And as a logical consequence, the Americans would enjoy peace and admiration of everybody, including the so-called terrorists.