Shiite cleric and political leader Moqtada al-Sadr, right welcomes the

Ayad Allawi, winner of Iraq's election seven months ago, to a meeting

in Syria on July 19. Syria called the meeting to try and bridge the

gap between Sunni Allawi and Shiite al-Sadr. Since Allawi is seen as

less sensitive to Iranian influence, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon,

Jordan and Egypt all favor him over Prime Minister Maliki.




Iraq News Agency, Iraq

Muqtada al-Sadr and Nouri al-Maliki: More Shiite or Iraqi?


Recently there have been reports that thanks to the support of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr - and the tacit consent of Iran and even the U.S. - Nouri Al-Maliki is close to being named for a second term as Iraq's prime minister. According to this article by columnist Tariq Hamid of the Iraqi News Agency, this electoral outcome, which insults Iraqi voters who elected Ayad Alawi, calls into question whether Muqtada al-Sadr and Nouri al-Maliki consider Iraq more important than their Shiite brothers in Iran.


By Tariq Hamid


Translated By James Jacobson


October 2, 2010


Iraq - Iraq News Agency - Original Article (Arabic)

It’s no surprise to hear the Sadrists, led by Muqtada al-Sadr, complain of Iranian pressure to agree to a second term for Nouri Al-Maliki as prime minister. But the complaint is a surprise, given a Sadrist statement made after they withdrew past reservations about the al-Maliki nomination, which said that political pressure in politics is necessary since, “everyone who walks through fire on their own” pursues their own interests, and that “politics means give and take”! That's undoubtedly true, since politics is the art of the possible, but a most important message remains: Is Muqtada al-Sadr Shiite or an Iraqi? What is more important to him: Iraq or following Iran? If al-Sadr is suffering pressure from Iran, why not leave it, return to Iraq and confront al-Maliki himself, even if al-Maliki’s followers will curse him for this a thousand times? Another question is this: why didn’t the Sadrists follow the principle of submission to pressure during the days of Saddam? The Sadrists, with their well-known historic position, didn’t collude with the former regime against Iraqis, and never conceded to its terror and blackmail, even though Saddam’s regime was ruthless, and its cruelty was no less severe that that of the Iranian regime! 



The issue here is huge - and dangerous. If loyalty to one’s country doesn’t come first, it means that all of our nations are at the mercy of the wind, which leads to another question: Are Arab countries failing to establish a stable citizenship, which is the only true guarantor of a nation's security, stability, growth, and prosperity? The Indians, whether Muslim or Hindu, and the Asiatics, whatever their nationality and religion, when they live in the West whether it be in America or Europe, respect the constitutions of those countries, serve in their armies, contribute to their growth and well-being, all without diminishing their roots or relations to their creator. While this is the proper way to deal with their beliefs, in Arab countries the situation is puzzling and frightening.




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I'll never forget the moment that an Indian-Muslim official told me defiantly and with pride: “Tell me, have you ever heard of an Indian-Muslim accused of treason due to cooperation with Pakistan during all the years of enmity between us?” The question here is: do Shiites in Lebanon, for example, consider themselves Lebanese or Shiite? The same question should be applied in Iraq and other places. Surely, a Turk considers himself a citizen of Turkey before a Sunni, and a Saudi sees himself as Saudi before he considers himself Sunni. The same thing applies to Egyptians, whether they are Muslim or not. Accordingly, if politics in Iraq is made by religious authorities, then what's the point of elections at all? What's the difference between Saddam Hussein and Nouri al-Maliki, other than Saddam used force and violence to remain in power, whereas al-Maliki uses Iran to keep his throne?!



Thus, it appears that there is a big difference between Ayad Alawi and Nouri al-Maliki: Alawi is a Shiite that considers his Iraqi identity to be stronger than narrow sectarianism, which guarantees the preservation of the country, and which is why he won the vote of the people, even if with a difference of just a single vote. This is democracy, where there's no difference between one vote or thousands. Whereas al-Maliki sees sectarianism as the guarantor of power to remain in office. The difference between the two men is great.


Hence the burning question remains: Is al-Sadr Iraqi, or Shiite? By answering this question, we can know where Iraq is headed.




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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US October 5, 11:09pm]


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