Saturday, April 01, 2006

The critical 50/50

Today we witnessed the first public call from inside the UIA for Jafari to step down.
Qassim Dawood from the independent bloc inside the UIA that has some 20 members urged Mr. Jafari to withdraw his nomination saying that "many f us in the UIA see that we must choose a prime minister for the country and not a prime minister for the UIA…"
This call (which I expect will be followed by similar ones in the near future) shows a growing awareness among some politicians of the critical situation and dangers imposed by the hardliners.

The chances to see a solution are fluctuating up and down reflecting the daily map of events and the intra and inter partisan disputes and right now I see that chances split 50-50 between solution and a confrontation.
The reasonable politicians within the parties know very well that there will be no future for them or for the country if a balanced government is not formed soon in Baghdad but the hardliner clerics in these parties have a different vision based on the dream of building a religious state or dying doing so. Of course this sounds insane for the guys in suits but for the turbans this represents the choice of the holy ancestors; either victory or death. They do not care about this life and they seek to satisfy God thinking that this is the only right path as they conclude from their confused reading of a confused history.
This vision will push them to fight fiercely to build their version of the 'kingdom of God'.

Clerics like tyrants tend to bet on the 'street' and to have wrong estimations of how far this 'street' is willing to follow them in their fantasies; they think-just like Saddam convinced himself-that the people will explode like a raging volcano to fight for Allah and protect the faith but this is not true as history proven in more than an occasion and most of the 'soldiers' will seek shelter from harm except for a minority of enthusiasts (fanatics) who will fight until the last man.

I think the coming days will show a stiffer attitude on the end of the religious hardliners and this includes both Sunni and Shia and we will also be hearing more tense and inflammatory statements that will focus more on rejecting the American presence, not only in the form of the calls to deport or replace the ambassador like the ones we heard during Friday prayers but I'm afraid some clerics are preparing to declare Jihad as the American presence represent the major obstacle facing their dreams of a religious state.

Such declaration will no doubt find support from regional powers that are interested in seeing Iraq and America fail especially that America's failure in presenting a good example in Iraq will make America think a thousand time before trying to repeat the experiment anywhere else in the region.
Some of those fanatics think this is the best time for them to seize the ground and move to next step of action and those do not put defeat in their considerations as death too is part of victory and there are more than a few verses in the Quran that makes them think this applies to them and that death or 'martyrdom' is another form of victory. Anyway, the white bearded old cleric will not feel anything for the death of the young he misleads, on the contrary, it is they who should be grateful for him for showing them the path to heaven.

Clerics are gathering and charging their followers with hatred to prepare them for a war; hatred towards anything that does not belong to their old school and this may also include provoking these followers against moderate politicians who will be denounced as cowards and betrayers of the faith.

Naturally most politicians do not want this land to be their grave but it won't be easy for them to resist the pressure or stay away from the fire. I really think that clerics are leading us to a real disaster and it is time for Iraqis with brains and influence to put an end for this madness of the clerics. I don't expect this to be an easy task but just as the religious succeeded in uniting themselves, the liberals must do better to overcome their differences and show more efforts to rescue their country from an imminent disaster.

Forming a unity government and activating the constitution to stop the spread of fanaticism and control the militias cannot be done overnight but doing this as fast possible can greatly reduce the chances of the radical Islamists to manipulate the situation and I am asking the wise politicians of Iraq to start working now and to remember that their differences must not stop them from confronting a greater danger that threatens all of them without discrimination.

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