"According to Kurdish and Sunni negotiators, the US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, proposed that Islam be named "a primary source" and supported a wording which would give clerics authority in civil matters such as divorce, marriage and inheritance. If approved, critics say that the proposals would erode women’s rights and other freedoms enshrined under existing laws" Guardian
How sad is that? The new constitution might lead to an erosion of "women’s rights and other freedoms enshrined under existing laws." Under existing laws!! That means the laws of the Saddamist state that we destroyed in the name of human rights.
It should have been clear in advance that the removal of one tyranny in a context like that of Iraq would likely lead to another with the "players" re-shuffled. The new "management" of Iraq just has a different agenda than the old one.
Yesterday, on the parade of "heads" that is Sunday Morning TV, we had the chance to hear Professor Laith Kubba, now adviser to the former "Dawa" leader, Jaafari. Jaafari is now the Iraqi PM. Kubba is an American citizen who teaches at an American university and whose nuclear family lives in London. He was speaking yesterday as an Iraqi government person, "We are re-building our country," etc. Since I don’t think he was talking about tornado damage in the Mid-West, I deduce that he meant Iraq. This dual citizenship thing is getting out of hand.
Under questioning, Kubba gravely, and with a straight face, told us all that under the law code that will be based on the new constitution, families will have the option to choose whether questions of family law; divorce, inheritance, propert rights, the independence of women, the age of majority in children, etc. shall be decided before the courts on the basis of a secular European based law code or on the basis of some version of Sharia (Islamic law either Sunni or Shia). I suppose the Sunnis could choose to have their cases decided under Hanafi or Shafa’i law and the Shia would choose otherwise.
I suppose it is possible that a government dominated by Shia Divines might accept that Christians and others could be judged on the basis of an essentialy irreligious law code. That idea hasn’t worked well in other places run by Islamic zealots. Sudan and Afghanistan would be examples, but IT COULD HAPPEN.
Such people are small minorities in Iraq. The great majority are Muslims; Sunni (Arabs, Kurds and Turkomans) or Shia (Arabs). Are we really supposed to believe that a government under the influence of people who think that Islam is a "seamless garment" in which all aspects of life are properly subjected to the divine will, would accept to have MUSLIMS, who by definition have submitted to the will of God, decide their family life issues by CIVIL law?
Can it be that Laith Kubba believes that the Ayatollah Sistani would agree to having Muslims decide to have such cases judged on the basis of European law? Sistani has already told Jaafari that he "wishes" that no law should be made which conflicts with Islamic principles. We were also told yesterday by the speaker of the National Assembly that agreement had been reached on the principle that "no law shall be made which conflicts with Islam.." Today all will be made clear.
As for Kubba, one can only hope that he does not suffer the fate of so many liberal enablers of radical revolution. Exile.
I find it most interesting that so many still want to handicap what is going to be in that Constitution. So far, all the predictions about the glorious model democracy in Iraq have come out wrong. Bush, in his interview with Tim Russert categorically ruled out and Islamic state because Chalabi told him it would not be. Now flakkers are out there saying it won’t be as bad as you think, it will be a flexible system of law.
Even with a constitution, how it will be implemented remains to be seen.
Claims of success are going to ring so hollow, it will be deafening.
Defamatory language is not allowed on my blog. You are banned.
I bet this gonna make Bush rethink Islamic law. It speaks right through his Halliburton buddies. This gonna hit him right where it hurt.
from Cole’s blog
Whither Foreign Investment in Iraq under Islamic Law?
Doug Ireland covers how the US media covered the story that the Bush administration acquiesced in enshrining Islamic canon law in the Iraqi constitution.
What is amazing to me is that no one has brought up the issue of commercial law. Islamic law has three parts: 1) ritual acts and personal status (`ibadat or what the human individual owes to God) 2) commerce and other human interactions (mu`amalat or what human beings owe each other); and 3) government regulations beyond the text of revealed law (as-siyasah ash-Shar`iyyah or public law).
If no law may be legislated by parliament that contradicts shariah or Islamic canon law, then may corporations operate in Iraq? Traditional Islamic law does not recognize corporations as persons, and stops with partnerships. Moreover, presumably banks would not be allowed to charge interest on loans. (Islamic banks typically offer depositors something like mutual funds, on which there could be returns but there is also risk of loss). Mr. Bremer’s hundred laws are likely to be replaced with fiqh or Islamic law manuals (that discuss things like Islamic contract law. Halliburton had better hire some ayatollahs as advisers.
This endgame really makes me wonder about our leadership. The severe political problems were identified before the war began; no mystery at all. It is apparent, however, that we had no plan to address these – these were “Iraqi problems”. Then, to make us feel good about our sacrifice, the administration promises that the government will bring democracy, human rights, etc etc. This is rank incompetence, period. This is not an ideological problem, it is out and out incompetence, at a level that should have gotten the Commander in Chief tossed out on his ear last fall. I am still trying to understand why that didn’t happen…
I agree with the sentiment about the incompetence here. As a civilian and a non-specialist on foreign affairs even I have found the decisions and policies in all of this bewildering. As polls indicate, I am in substantial and growing company. Bush’s decisions run afoul of the most basic common sense, at least to this lay person.
However, regarding the comment that this is not an ideological problem, I would differ with you. I feel that the foreign policy of this administration has all the marks of some new strain of colonialism that is, like all colonialism, about the projection of power and imperial authority at base.
The Project for the New American Century was probably better named the Project for the New American Hegemony.
Yet the rank, staggering incompetence of this crowd has been so overwhelming, I would tend to agree that, were I to write a history on this moment, I would likely lede with the incompetence.
For a group of people so seemingly determined, with essentially all the levers of government at their disposal, to be so unrelentingly bad at achieving their goals, it real it is extraoardinary.
As many people have noted in various ways, can you imagine the torches and pitchforks if a Democratic president had executed this “policy”? Without one-party rule in the U.S., there would no doubt be a wholesale political upheaval here at home.
Note — this is 23 Aug — has the virtue of having seen the purported draft–
I’m perplexed — How could anybody have expected any of the Sunni representatives to accept this? For all the vagueness, the vision of “federation” is clear. I can’t imagine how any Sunni in the current assembly could feel he has the authority to accept this — unless he were already committed to suicide, within hours.
I agree it is virtually impossible to figure out who, within the Sunni community, would have such authority. That is a problem.
So, what are we doing here? Is this the “product of a middle school model UN field trip” as one friend suggested? Or, is this the product of a decision to “ram it down the Sunnis’ throats?” Who made that decision? Our NCA?, the Iranians?, SCIRI/Da’wa?, Barzani/Talabani? Whoever made it — looks to me like a political decision without the military force or the legitimacy to employ force to back it up. Back home, they call that letting your mouth overload your 4th point of contact.
Is it just me hallucinating, or is it not a correct observation to note that the Sunni insurgents effectively have no LOC, they are living on top of their LOC? They have all the trained manpower, explosives and financing they need to continue their insurgency indefinitely. There is no Ho Chi Minh Trail, no COSVN — what comes in from Syria and Iran is not insignificant but it is also unnecessary. So, who is it that’s going to ram this down the Sunnis’ throats? And, how are we going to define our role in that exercise?
Bush, today, the 23rd of August: “‘The Sunnis have to make a choice,’ Bush told reporters in Donnelly, about 80 miles north of Boise. ‘Do they want to live in a society that is free or do they want to live in violence?'”
So if the Sunni’s reject the draft, clearly either they like violence or hate freedom. It could not possibly be for any other reasons, could it? The constitution itself could not be a cause of concern; it must be other ‘values’ they hold that are not consistent with Bush’s soundbite foreign policy.