Friday, February 08, 2008

Wake Up and Smell The Shiite

Ali al-Wardi said in the conclusion of his seminal book Wu'aadh al-Salatin (Sultans Preachers), published in the 1950s:

"Religious fervor in Iraq weakened, but sectarianism remained: Iraqis became sectarian but non-religious, an interesting thing indeed!

It can be said, anyway, that sectarianism in Iraq is on its way to oblivion, it cannot function in society long after the departure of its father, religion, it is now dying ; and will join its dead father sooner of later."
Poor Mr. al-Wardi, I bet he must be rolling in his grave repeatedly. Even in the Western World, one's identification with his religion takes a long time to fade after his actual devotion.

I'm tired, I'm sick and tired of advocating an idea that doesn't exist, talking about principles that are nowhere near the ground and never will be for centuries to come, we are still living in the Medieval Ages of religious persecution, no foreign-installed democracy is going to change that, the 20th century sudden-shock efforts of modernization in the Middle East have quickly vanished as people reverted back to the way they were.

Never be fooled, like I was, that the idea of a secular, unified Iraq is an actual possibility that can be attained in the next elections or so, all these writers and bloggers who started to write one day, eager about the possibilities of the bright future, slowly and surely all of them realized that horrid facade at one point or another, in effect, they all tone their arguments, whether they are resisting the occupation, or focusing on al-Qaeda or Saddam's crimes endlessly, around a single focal unconscious point, they all pretend that they care about the single unified Iraq but what they really want to say is that we don't like the other side and we never will.

In the past, inquiring about one's sect was somewhat of an insult, but are Iraqis really that mindful of their Iraqiness more than their religion? OF COURSE NOT. It's only social hypocrisy, one of the most deep-seated diseases of double-standards here. As long as religion is not completely eliminated, voluntarily by its adherents, there will never be common ground to build between the two sects to create the ideal nation-state ; the fundamentals of the Shia faith are built, quite simply, to vilify and demonize the 'founders' of Sunnism ; this ideological barrier is now brought to the forefront as common masses, even seculars, atheists, rediscover and entrench those mutual hostilities. Moderates on both sides will be more likely to embrace the pride of their religion rather than saunter to break an ice that has been sitting there for 1,400 years.

The Shias don't really care about just democracy, human rights, civilization or any of that nonsense ; what matters for them is that they are in power. You can see that quite clearly by the way they defend Abu Deraa, virtually a Shia Zarqawi, as a hero of the common masses, The Brits realized what a colossal mistake it would be to install a people who are still clung to Pope-style theocracy and decided, rather wisely, against it. It worked for a while, until the Iranian revolution, coupled with Saddam's heroic aspirations, came along, but mostly, it was Iran's desire to spread theocracy that gave Saddam the excuse he badly needed.
The Americans, in their arrogance, cared little about details, and aided by faux-secular opportunists like Mr. Chalabi, they gave the Shias the upper hand again. I don't think it will last long either.
This report by the Crisis Group is a fascinating detail about the Sadrist role in the civil war, the amount of bloodshed mentioned in the report is quite ridiculous, and yet there are still asswipes still believe the death count is somewhere around 150,000.
almost 75% of Baghdad is now Shia, bombarded by ugly truths such as these, which greatly damages the fragile common ground between Sunnis and Shiites and accentuates the ever present religious and social hostility and differences between the two in one's perceptions, a moderate guy like me who still until recently dreamed about a secular Iraq would have no choice but reconsider his identity ; repeatedly through reading the report, the image of finding a Shiite, repeatedly beating the shit out of him and telling him to go back to live in the Iraq that is now his came to my mind.

Of course, one would always hope for a social uprising of some sort, but the bitter truth speaks otherwise.

I decided to make dinner, I had an innocent conversation with my sister, she was talking about the difficulties of the paperwork she had in college and the alienation she felt there, in the end she said: "I miss Saddam, I never realized I would say this one day but I really long for his shitty days."

For the first time ever, I understood.

After a year of complaining repeatedly about how much everybody loves Saddam, after realizing that everything I stand for were very remote pipe dreams, that in the end, when you realize these lies, when your own being is attacked, you have to defend your identity, so, against all that I believed in, I could only sigh and say:

"Me too."

50 comments:

A&Eiraqi said...

Dear Kid

I don't think it matters whether the population of Baghdad is Shia or Sunnis, what matters is the life which people are living, I can't understand why we had to walk to the hospital three days rather than driving just to prepare for one religious celebration which ended with a disaster in 2005 (Al-Aima bridge), till now streets are being closed and people's life disturbed for any religious celebration!!!

Many people are trying to show Saddam as a Sunni and missed by sectarian sunnis, many are trying to say that Sunnis do miss Saddam just because they don't want Shia to rule; I wounder why Sunnis in Anbar, Mawsel, Salh el-din are not happy, those cities are ruled by sunnis and shia have no real influence on them.

What your sister missed was the life she used to live (it wasn't a wounderful one, but was much better than now).

At least under Saddam, we all had to suffer regardless to our sect. I was never asked about mine when we were forced to do the stupid military training every year.
I wounder if anyone was asked about his?


Regards

lelly said...

I dunno if u care much for my random opinion, but what the hey.

After a year of complaining repeatedly about how much everybody loves Saddam, after realizing that everything I stand for were very remote pipe dreams, that in the end, when you realize these lies, when your own being is attacked, you have to defend your identity .

We all need dreams, even if they are ultimately unachievable.It seems like you are giving up your ideals when u say you " until recently dreamed about a secular Iraq".
Maybe very little can be achieved in a long time - even your lifetime.
Thats hard and depressing yeah.

Yes,atm the middle east is fucked, Iraq is fucked, and religion is fucked.Racism, sexism, sectarianism...you get my drift.

A way to lok at it is - I'm gonna continue fighting for my ideals even if the only thing achieved is the continuity of those ideas from me to the next generation. Maybe then sometime in the future (if not today) something good will be achieved.

l.

Iraqi Mojo said...

"the fundamentals of the Shia faith are built, quite simply, to vilify and demonize the 'founders' of Sunnism"

That is a very simple analysis indeed. Wasn't the founder of Sunnism the Prophet who is worshiped by Shia every day? It's funny how you espouse secularism in one post, calling yourself moderate, lamenting the hypocrisy of Iraqis and slamming the Shia for being so religious, and in another post you admit that what agitated you most was the Shia’s “cursing of the companions” as if the Shia get up every morning and yell profanities at Ummar. If you were truly secular, you wouldn’t give a shit what people say about the Prophet’s murderous (in your face!) companions. It reminds me of Mish3an Jabouri screaming at the journalist Mousawi and accusing him of being a Persian who insults the Prophet’s companions. Is that why Sunni militias blow up Shia? Because the Shia “curse the prophet’s companions”? Or is it simply because the Arab Shia have power for the first time in their long miserable history? Is it wrong for the majority to seek power in their own country? Must the Iraqis live under dictatorship forever? Why can’t we do better than Saddam? You miss the shitty days of Saddam. I miss the (relatively) good old days of Ahmed Hassan el Bakar.

And Kid, those Sadrists did not start their murderous rampage without being provoked. Ya think the situation in Iraq might improve if the bombings of marketplaces stop?

Konfused Kid said...

Iraqi Mojo,

You are a secular Shia who doesn't really know shit about his own sect, most Iraqi Shia aren't secular, they are very prone to follow the hawza, and the few seculars can't do squat about that, please read more.
I'm not being biased, my point is that, an Iraq that truly unites Sunnis and Shias is a pipe dream, because as long as religion is a big deal for either one of them, then a true cohesive feeling of being part of something that unites them will never be completely true: it will always be hostility and mutual distrust. It doesn't matter who started what, did you read that report? if the Shias are so patriotic Iraqis, why did they kill untold number of Sunnis, so that effectively three quarters of Baghdad are effectively cleansed. Yes, yes, we started first.

I did say in the previous post that Sunnis did all they could to repel Shiites, imo, it is a minor fact, BECAUSE Sunnis and Shias are already hostile for reasons I explained there as well, so it's only a matter of time before someone strikes first.

You miss al-Bakr? well, all I saw was Saddam Hussein's days. I can't really say anything about stuff I didn't live under.
In the end, you are who you are.

Konfused Kid said...

Why can’t we do better than Saddam?

I hope you don't mean Muqtada or al-Maliki or whoever is in power. This Iraq is fucked up, the old one was stable. I never needed to know all about sects and that sort of thing in the old Iraq I used to live in ; even if Iraq was repaired (lol) somehow, the things I know now about Shiism as a religious movement, and most importantly the blood that has been shed will always prevent me from feeling a true kinship with them.

Konfused Kid said...

Many people are trying to show Saddam as a Sunni and missed by sectarian sunnis, many are trying to say that Sunnis do miss Saddam just because they don't want Shia to rule

Yes I thought so too, but apparently you and I have been living in the moony idea that all Iraqis are the same, do you remember the protests in Diyala or Salah al-Din or wherever in 2004 where they held up photos of Saddam, or the celebrations in Adhamiya when they heard Saddam isn't dead? Even if Saddam did not really represent Sunnis, the blessed Shia government assured Sunnis that they have reason to feel this way, not that they have any true relationship with anything Shia to consider it better than Saddam.
Yes, I hate it, but that's the Iraq there is.

Konfused Kid said...

Wasn't the founder of Sunnism the Prophet who is worshiped by Shia every day?

According to Shiism, the only good true path is the one the Prophet ordinaed Ali and his progeny to uphold, we the evil Sunnis decided to go with the whims of the most evil of God's creations, the hypocrites Abu Bakr and Umar (may Allah curse them), who are burning in the abyss of hellfire even lower than Satan as we speak. Ali wiyak Ali.

Iraqi Mojo said...

No of course I don't mean Sadr. Sadr is a jackass. But I think we should laugh at Sadrists, not blow them up. This Iraq is fucked up because it's been through a civil war that the Sunni Arabs STARTED. It is not a minor point. The Sunni Arab extremists can stop it. Sadr declared a cease fire and it's held for months, even after a few market bombings. Why can't the Wahhabi scum stop their murderous bullshit? I don't think this Iraq would be so fucked up if kids weren't so afraid to walk the damn streets. Iraq was stable under Saddam because the Shia never thought of blowing up a marketplace. Abbass says some Da3wa dude threw a grenade at Tarig Aziz in 1980. That's it? No beheading of Sunni Arabs during 24 years of oppression and persecution? No bombings of markets in Tikrit or Ramadi? Maybe the Iraqi Shia wouldn't be so religious if they weren't so persecuted. My uncles became very religious after their nephews were executed. My father stopped drinking and got serious about Islam in 1980, after Saddam "went after Da3wa" and steered Iraq towards endless war, first with SHIA and then with an Arab neighbor. And you call that stability. Damn that sucks, Kid. An entire generation of Iraqis has grown up with Saddami7sain as the standard. No wonder Iraq is so fucked up.

I believe that eventually the Iraqi Shia will become more secular as they're exposed to international media and MONEY. The only thing that will thwart that progress is the mass murder of Shia.

The next elections are key to the future of Iraq. We shouldn't be so pessimistic. I plan to promote Mithal al Alusi.

Konfused Kid said...

well, I do hope you're right, i will vote for al-Alusi or Jamal al-Din myself, but I know beforehand they won't make much of a difference. but here's hoping.

The religious phase wasn't entitled to Shias alone, Mojo, Sunnis all over the Middle East became more religious as well, it was very common in the 1980s and probably the Iranian revolution played a great hand in revitalizing Islamic trends after the nationalist ideas failed.

Why do you think Saddam chased the Dawa people? Well, he wanted to attack Iran of course, but these dumbasses gave him the reason, they were so high on the Iranian promise of exporting revolution that they started actively challenging Saddam, and then he clamped on them ruthlessly, had they laid low, he wouldn't do stuff to them. I think it's more about tyrannical secularism vs theocracy than anything else.

Don Cox said...

"the blood that has been shed will always prevent me from feeling a true kinship with them."____The answer to that is reconciliation and forgiveness. Remember the commission they had in South Africa?

CMAR II said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CMAR II said...

[kid] This Iraq is fucked up, the old one was stable.

I posted about this comment here.

[kid] all these writers and bloggers...whether they are resisting the occupation, or focusing on al-Qaeda or Saddam's crimes endlessly, around a single focal unconscious point, they all pretend that they care about the single unified Iraq but what they really want to say is that we don't like the other side and we never will.

What about the ITM bloggers?? They are Sunni Arabs and they are not nostalgic for Saddam. They have excoriated the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Health and they hate Al-Qaeda. Oh...but I forgot, THEY are a propaganda machine.

[kid] The Shias don't really care about just democracy, human rights, civilization or any of that nonsense ; what matters for them is that they are in power.

They are 65% of the population. They HAVE TO BE in power in a just free egalitarian non-sectarian government.

[kid] You can see that quite clearly by the way they defend Abu Deraa, virtually a Shia Zarqawi

Which Shi'a? The ones in Sadr City? Not Sadr. Not Maliki.

[kid] The Americans, in their arrogance, cared little about details, and aided by faux-secular opportunists like Mr. Chalabi, they gave the Shias [and Iranians] the upper hand again. I don't think it will last long either.

You have never explained why a majority of ARAB Shi'a would ever tolerate PERSIAN theocrats playing in their backyard. Even Quds' most successful man in Iraq, Al-Sadr, has had to retrench.

[kid] This report by the Crisis Group is a fascinating detail about the Sadrist role in the civil war, the amount of bloodshed mentioned in the report is quite ridiculous, and yet there are still asswipes still believe the death count is somewhere around 150,000.

That's right. Why should we trust real statistical principles to come up with a number? Let's just FEEL the number. That's the ticket. We'll imagine the lots more deaths. That is sure to accomplish a lot for your country.

RhusLancia said...

Konfused Kid: "I think it's more about tyrannical secularism vs theocracy than anything else."

Kid, it really seems to me that Saddam made himself like a religious idol in Iraq. Weren't his images everywhere? Didn't Iraqis have to chant about their love and devotion to him wherever he went? Saddam kept religion "in its place" because he replaced it with himself. Anyone who disagreed was crushed.

I'm not surprised the fundies gained power in the tumultuous wake of rooting out his regime and the scorched-earth retaliation by it.

It will be for Iraqis to decide if they want Iraq to be fundie or not, though. I haven't heard many advocates of religious fundamentalism in the blogosphere, if any, so it will be up to the people (since I presume they speak for many Iraqis) to push Iraq towards moderation by demanding & electing better candidates.

Repulsed said...

Yes, yes, cue the torch and pitchfork party of Mojo, CMAR, Rhuslancia, Jeffrey, Programmer Craig, and Anand to lynch your ass now for the blasphemies you just uttered in your post, Kid.

God, I'm getting sick and tired of the Iraqi blogosphere.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

A very powerful post, Kid.

I think that from time immemorial oppression and uncertainty of any kind has led to the rise of religious fundamentalism. It's a form of escape. And, unfortunately, it appears that in the ME oppression and uncertainty are the name of the game.

I think we understand what you are trying to say with these posts, Kid. And despite what you might think, I also think a lot of our people on the ground understand some of the difficulties you are highlighting here. *sigh* And we, the United States, may have only been together a few hundred years, but we have experienced some of the problems Iraq is now experiencing.

Nothing will change all at once. I know you think it's a pipe dream, but that's not to say that one can't try to chip away at the obstacles to that dream. Just don't expect too much all at once.

al-Alusi

I've read an interview with him. I like what he has to say.

Statistician said...

They are 65% of the population. They HAVE TO BE in power in a just free egalitarian non-sectarian government.

A simple look at the Iraqi census of 1997 and the 2006 estimation by the Iraqi Planning Ministry based on food rations card and population growth rates, will dispel the widespread myth that the Shia are at least 60-70% of the population. In fact they are not even close to 60%. This is exactly like the myth that was propagated before and during the Lebanese civil war that Christians were the majority of the population there. In Iraq, there has been no official census since 1947 that broke down the population according to sects, but we can make an estimate based on geography since we know the majority sects of most provinces, and by also taking into account an estimate of the minority communities in each.

Do your own math, here are the numbers for you:

Baghdad population: 6,962,650
Dahok: 494,191
Ninewa: 2,722,930
Suleimaniya: 1,832,440
Tamim: 885,950
Erbil: 1,490,695
Diyala: 1,511,823
Anbar: 1,431,717
Babil: 1,597,291
Karbala: 852,963
Wasit: 1,032,838
Salah al-Din: 1,147,402
Najaf: 1,045,862
Qadisiya: 963,543
Muthanna: 594,350
Thi Qar: 1,566,901
Misan: 803,253
Basra: 1,873,642

Total: 28,810,441

It is only if we add together the total population of ALL nine southern provinces and the entire population of Baghdad (which is of course ridiculous because at least half of Baghdad is Sunni, not to mention the large Sunni populations in many southern governorates), that you would get %60.02 of the Iraqi population. Whereas if you account for the Sunni populations in those provinces and redo the count, you get a percentage of about 42% Shia in Iraq, which is closer to the estimate of the last Iraqi census which broke down sects in the first half of the last century, and it is also supported by the fact that the Shiite list got less than 50% of the total vote in the elections, even with the widespread fraud. If you make the same calculation on Sunni provinces you get a 34% percentage of Sunnis. Kurds get 17%, and you get 7% of everyone else. I believe that an official census in Iraq that confirms these numbers will go a long way toward reconciliation because both the Shia and the Kurds (and some of their American sponsors) are alienating the Sunnis with claims that they are less than 15% of the population and that they have to accept their rightful place in the "new Iraq" while the Shia (and again, some of their American sponsors) have believed the myth that they are over 70% of the population and that therefore they are entitled to everything.

Source: http://www.iraqcosit.org/pdf/reports/Popul_tables.pdf

Eagerly waiting for the lynch party :)

RhusLancia said...

@ Statistician:

SEIZE HIM!!

Just kidding. I'd like to see a new census too, or more importantly a condition in Iraq where "sect" doesn't matter. I still have my dreams.

Statistician: "Whereas if you account for the Sunni populations in those provinces and redo the count, you get a percentage of about 42% Shia in Iraq"

This is where your analysis pivots. What are the percentages of Sunni in those provinces? I don't know. Do you?

Anyway, a) why should us fart-lighting Americans care about sect? and 2) I don't think I've ever heard an Iraqi say "hooray for sectarianism"! Except for those who disguise their bias in the name of anti-sectarianism, anti-Shia Arab/Persianism or whatnot.

Iraq will reject sectarianism like it did AQ's awful ideology, and like (many) rejected the yoke of Saddam's idol worshipping.

statistician said...

This is where your analysis pivots. What are the percentages of Sunni in those provinces? I don't know. Do you?

Not really, but I estimated based on the tables in the pdf file I attached, which breaks down populations to the smallest towns and districts. For example, everyone knows that Zubair and Abu al-Khasib in the Basra province are at very largely Sunni towns, and the same for Madain and Suwaira in Wasit; Shithatha and Razzaza in Karbala; Suq al-Shuyukh and Rifa'i in Thi Qar; Mahmudiya, Yousifiya, Latifiya, Iskandariya, Jurf al-Sakhar, al-Mashru' and some parts of Musayab and Mahawil in the Babil province. The same for the Shiite towns of Dujail and Balad in Salah al-Din, or Khalis, Abbara, Huweidir, Wajihiya and Judaida in Diyala, etc. It's all an estimate but a very close one, I think. But I did point out that even if you consider the entire population of Baghdad city and all provinces to the south of it as exclusively Shia (which is quite absurd) you would barely get a %60 percentage. That was my whole point. Look at how CMAR throws percentages of 70% and 15% so easily.

I don't think I've ever heard an Iraqi say "hooray for sectarianism"! Except for those who disguise their bias in the name of anti-sectarianism, anti-Shia Arab/Persianism or whatnot.

Well, obviously you either haven't been following these discussions or the developments in Iraq. The whole political order in post-war Iraq and its legitimacy rests on sectarianism. Bremer handpicked the members of the Governing Council according to sect (even a Communist was chosen because he was Shia, not because he was a member of the ICP). The whole rallying cry of the elections was sectarianism. Both Sunni and Shi'ite religious parties would not stand a chance in any elections had it not been for the highly charged sectarian environment in Iraq today. And then you have people like Mojo, who even having lived away from Iraq for three decades, writes things such as, "Why shouldn't the Shia rule Iraq?" "Why shouldn't the majority seek power?" And Kid here is trying to demonstrate to you how it is a very important thing in Iraq. Perhaps it is this American apathy to the issue that contributed to much of today's mess especially when it comes to their choice of Iraqi allies and benefactors.

So, what I'm saying is the purpose of such a census would be to discredit these myths of majority and minority first and to make it clear that Sunnis have every right to a better share of their country and to not be collectively punished (whether by Bremer's de-Baathification, or Chalabi and Sadr's new version of it).

Iraq will reject sectarianism like it did AQ's awful ideology, and like (many) rejected the yoke of Saddam's idol worshipping.

That's a bit of wishful thinking on your part. You need to read up a bit more on Iraqi society. You can't learn everything from the American media and these few Iraqi blogs.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Kid,

You may find this report on the GOI interesting. This link is to part 2 of the series. There is a link within the first paragraph of the article to part 1. You may want to read that first.

Jeffrey said...

Stats,

No matter what the exact numbers turn out to be, I think we can assume that there are more Arab Shia in Iraq than Arab Sunni, right? If so, then in a representative democracy most likely the Shia will have more representatives in parliament than Sunna. But not necessarily so.

As (or if) democracy matures in Iraq, people will feel confident enough to overlook sectarian allegiance and vote for people they believe are best to lead them until the next election cycle. Look, Kid and Mojo have both suggested they might vote for Mithal al Alusi.

You're right that all of us may simply be whistling past the graveyard, as we say here.

But I've seen strange things happen in my lifetime so far. I lived in West Berlin before the wall came down. No one back in the 80s in West Germany even THOUGHT of West and East Germany ever being reunited. I've traveled through a new, capitalistic China that would was unthinkable for over a billion Chinese just ten or fifteen years ago. I know Iraqis in particular, and the Arab world in general, are floundering and wondering who they really are. The future, especially taking into consideration all the competition from America, Europe, Asia, and even Latin America, looks daunting. But the future is for those who work together and grasp it.

*

CMAR II said...

[statistician] That was my whole point. Look at how CMAR throws percentages of 70% and 15% so easily.

As a mathematician I would think you would be better with numbers. I didn't use either of those figures.

But I agree that a census would be quite useful. I note that while you tout "wide spread corruption" in the vote (as though it only occurred in Shi'a dominated districts), you are completely credulous of the validity of ration cards in counting the population.

Finally, your rough numbers grant cities as being totally Sunni or Shi'a Arab. But you ignore that the South is *very* Shi'a despite a few Sunni centers, while Sunni Arabs more distributed. You say at "least half of Baghdad is Sunni". Well, perhaps (I say *perhaps*) by area but not by population. Baghdad's desperately poor centers are Shi'a and are more concentrated.

60-65% is the number that has been bandied about for the Shi'a population by Iraq experts since 1990. Even when the Sunni Arabs were convinced they were the majority population. I'll continue to use that figure until more determinitive percentages are derived.

[statistician] Bremer handpicked the members of the Governing Council according to sect"

And by ethnicity as well. How awful. Because we know that under Saddam, power and exclusion were not based on sect and ethnicity. How would YOU have ensured that all Iraqis --including those excluded under Saddam-- understood that they were to be part of the new Iraq? Perhaps he should have held a town meeting in Adhamiya?

As for your suggestion that the US is manipulating population percentages trick Sunni Arabs into "accepting their rightful place" as a minority, well...sheesh!

Jonathan said...

The world will be a much better place when we get rid of religion all together.

CMAR II said...

The world will be a much better place when we get rid of religion all together.

Thanks for the suggestion, Pol Pot.

RhusLancia said...

statistician: "Well, obviously you either haven't been following these discussions or the developments in Iraq. The whole political order in post-war Iraq and its legitimacy rests on sectarianism. "

I know, statistician, I didn't deny sectarianism existed, I just said nobody's an open fan of it. It's a response to the situation. Bremer's policies on the one hand, the Ba'athist/Terrorist targeting of Shia on the other, and the Shia militias' response... errr... on the third hand.

To use an example that is more black& white, suppose here in America the whites attack the blacks. Who do the blacks go to for safety? Other blacks, of course. Although maybe not all whites attack them, they would look at whites with more suspicion than blacks. Getting past this is not impossible, but it is hard.

statistician: "Not really, but I estimated based on the tables in the pdf file I attached, which breaks down populations to the smallest towns and districts."

OK, fine. But isn't it also true that there are some Shia Arabs in other provinces beyond the nine in the south? Also you cite the performance of the Shia party in the elections (41.2%) as a clue to their numbers, however the two Sunni parties combined got only 19.2%. If their numbers are much stronger as you say, yet they still boycotted the elections that dramatically, then why would anyone be surprised the gov't is still majority Shia?

Me: "Iraq will reject sectarianism like it did AQ's awful ideology, and like (many) rejected the yoke of Saddam's idol worshipping."

statistician: "That's a bit of wishful thinking on your part."

Don't lynch my dreams, dude.

statistician: "You need to read up a bit more on Iraqi society. You can't learn everything from the American media and these few Iraqi blogs."

Well I know that there are some viciously sectarian Iraqis, even some bloggers like Layla Anwar, for example. I know it is a difficult situation exacerbated by both the (mostly Sunni) veggie bombers and the (mostly Shia) head drillers, but I'm not ready to give up on Iraqis yet.

RhusLancia said...

The world would be a much better place if everyone would just think like Meeeeeeeee!

Anonymous said...

Again, you would have to go to ridiculous extremes and eliminate entire populations of Sunni towns and districts in Baghdad and the south of it to reach even the 55-60% percentage. I'm not saying my figures are accurate at all, I'm just saying that if you look closely at numbers based on actual censuses and governmental estimates, both pre- and post-war, they challenge the conventional wisdom that has been bandied about by "Iraq experts" (who would those experts be? Chalabi? Makiya? Kazimi?) since the 90s.

RhusLancia said...

OK, statistician/anonymous. I won't bet against you. Tell 'em to vote next time, OK?

CMAR II said...

[stats] who would those experts be? Chalabi? Makiya? Kazimi?) since the 90s.

I'm sure everyone of them since 1990 is an evil neo-con working in concert against the blessed Sunni Arabs (pbot).

Jeffrey said...

CMAR II,

Thanks for the suggestion, Pol Pot.

Hee hee. You're killing me today, CMAR II.

*

Jeffrey said...

Stats,

I would like to commend you on arguing for a larger representation for Sunni Arabs in Iraq by taking a close look at ways in which those earlier estimates were made. It's this kind of intelligence that Iraq's future will need.

There is no question that if Iraq is going to be successful it's going to need as many Sunni Arabs (like you, assuming you're are Sunni Arab) joining in as possible. I hope that you are currently in Iraq and plan to stay, just as I hope a lot of the Iraqi bloggers end up returning to Iraq.

Why? Because you guys have a lot to contribute to your country. At the same time, Sunni Arabs will have to accept the fact that they will probably never have the same overall commanding position (vis-a-vis the Shia Iraqi Arabs) ever again. Do you think that Sunni Iraqi Arabs, as a group, can accept this?

*

Kafir said...

...the fundamentals of the Shia faith are built, quite simply, to vilify and demonize the 'founders' of Sunnism...

Well, that is not as bad as what Islam in general has in store for everyone else. Jews and Christians get three choices: Conversion, Dhimmitude, or death, everyone else gets only the first and third.

This Iraq is fucked up, the old one was stable.

There's a difference between a country in which people don't want to commit crimes and a country where people are afraid to commit crimes. Saddam gave you the latter, the US has handed you the makings of the former. What you do with them is up to you.

I live in the southern US. On the wall in my office, I have a framed flag flown by southern troops during the US civil war. Many people in the south are still stinging over that war. That doesn't mean we're not a unified country. It means your nation can survive despite deap-seated divisions among your people.

RhusLancia said...

kafir: "On the wall in my office, I have a framed flag flown by southern troops during the US civil war."

Wasn't the KKK, in its early lynching days at least, not unlike the former regime elements and their jihadi allies?

Anand said...

Thanks kid for this powerful post. Thanks everyone else for the informative discussion.

Kid, we never lose until we give up. Iraq has had more than 6 millenia of difficult history, challenges, successes and defeats. Iraqis have sprung back before, and they will spring back again In šaʾ Allāh.

Konfused Kid said...

here's the thing:

Shiites are a majority, the statisician kinda guy reminds me of somebody I read somewhere (probably Nibras Kazimi) who said Sunnis are only 9%.

The Shia Arabs are probably the most integral component of Iraq ; there aren't any Persian Shia or Saffavids or whatever, I brought those items as example of "demonization" of the other, but they are forced to support Iran because Iran is the major champion for the Shia cause, which is and will always remain an alien entity as afar as Muslim-Arabs are concerned. Also, I do believe that Shiite legacy tends to greatly minimize the bonds between Shias and the general Sunni Arab history, often vilifying it.

The only real problem is that the Shias chose theocratic regimes which will be forever allied to Iran and the majority of masses will always stick to their religion before anything else. I am hearing reports about masses getting sick and tired of this, but I'm not putting my money there yet.

As for Iraq The Model, those guys are talking about a model that will not exist for at least some time now.

RhusLancia said...

Kid: "As for Iraq The Model, those guys are talking about a model that will not exist for at least some time now."

Aha! You didn't say 'never'... :)

Kid, I get that there's tremendous animosity between Arabs and Persians, possibility predating even my birth ( < -- joke). Do you think it's possible there will be peace between the two neighbors in our lifetime?

Don Cox said...

"They are 65% of the population. They HAVE TO BE in power in a just free egalitarian non-sectarian government."_____Only if there are secular parties. In most advanced countries, the two main parties are "Conservative" and "Progressive", under various names. For example, in most of the UK there is no Catholic or Protestant party today (except in Ulster) - but a few hundred years ago, there was. Bearing in mind that the Iraqi tribes are in many cases mixed Sunn-Shia, and many families are mixed, I think there is hope for non-sectarian parties eventually. Mahmood in Bahrain has an anti-sectarian campaign running, with badges that say "Not Sunni, not Shia, but Bahraini". Maybe something like that would help.

Don Cox said...

"Only if there are secular parties. "____That should of course be "Only if there are sectarian parties. "__________How far are the current troubles caused by deep hostility among Iraqis themselves, and how far have they been stirred up by people coming in from neighbouring countries (both Sunni and Shia)?

CMAR II said...

Me: "They are 65% of the population. They HAVE TO BE in power in a just free egalitarian non-sectarian government."

Don Cox: "Only if there are secular parties."


I guess what I meant was that in the most non-sectarian environment, most of the legislative and bureaucratic positions will be occupied by ethnically-identifying Shi'a Arabs rather than Sunni Arabs, Kurds, Turkomen, or Assyrians. It doesn't mean that the ratios will need to be perfect. The number of Jewish lawyers in NY doesn't match their census numbers. But they will probably take the majority of lead positions, and Sunni Arabs will have to give way.

Furthermore, in every national election, winning the vote of Shi'a Arabs will be paramount, just as it is with Whites in America. Democracy in action.

It will *feel* like things are going to hell for Sunni Arabs no matter how good things go, and it probably won't go absolutely wonderful for a while.

programmer craig said...

repulsed,

Yes, yes, cue the torch and pitchfork party of Mojo, CMAR, Rhuslancia, Jeffrey, Programmer Craig, and Anand to lynch your ass now for the blasphemies you just uttered in your post, Kid.

It's one of the most honest posts I've seen on an Iraqi blog. Why would I be against the kid for being honest? For examining his own beliefs and his own emotions?

The only people I attack on blogs are liars and propagandists. Kid, have you ever felt that I was making personal attacks on you? If so, I apologize.

Mayssam said...

Hello Kid,

There was something in the post about the majority of shi'its not being secular , do you know that for a fact?Am a born shiit and a secular so are my parents and a large number of our family (both sides) . Actually I remember the first time i knew i came from shiite parents was at the age of 16 or 17 , religion and such was rarely discussed in our house. There, you have a good number of secualr shiits , i hope it this will make you happy lol.
" The Shia Arabs are probably the most integral component of Iraq ; there aren't any Persian Shia or Saffavids or whatever, I brought those items as example of "demonization" of the other, but they are forced to support Iran because Iran is the major champion for the Shia cause, which is and will always remain an alien entity as afar as Muslim-Arabs are concerned"

Dear kid,
There are no champions for iraqi shia ( or shia in general ) cause . Iraqi shiits are the only iraqi component without regional or international champions , friends , or even sympthizers, its very sad , but its true.
All iraqi shiits wanted was some sympathy and understanding from their brothers , was that too much to ask?
Anyways , I can see that you are different from Ziad , 24 and similar people and that you really feel for your people ( all of them) , it makes me happy.

Thank you.

Abbas Hawazin said...

Thank you all for your support.

anon1 said...

For a secular Shi'ia you sure know how to perform a neat la6miyya.

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