Islamic law looms large in Iraqi constitution talks
Looks like there is a sticking point over the institution of Sharia law under the Iraqi constitution which may mean that non-Muslim Iraqis and women will have curtailed rights. If America is siding with the Shiites it would tend to consolidate Iranian influence in Iraq. Did we go to war only to create another Islamist state, and one that is friendly to Iran, to boot? This has always been a possible fundamental flaw in the Bush doctrine of encouraging democracy in the Middle East as a panacea for all political ills. Is a secular democracy compatible with Islam?
Reuters has the story:
U.S. diplomats have conceded ground to Islamists on the role of religion in Iraq, negotiators said on Saturday as they raced to meet a 48-hour deadline to draft a constitution under intense U.S. pressure.
U.S. diplomats, who have insisted the constitution must enshrine ideals of equal rights and democracy, declined comment.
Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish negotiators all said there was accord on a bigger role for Islamic law than Iraq had before.
But a secular Kurdish politician said Kurds opposed making Islam "the", not "a", main source of law -- changing current wording -- and subjecting all legislation to a religious test.
"We understand the Americans have sided with the Shi'ites," he said. "It's shocking. It doesn't fit American values. They have spent so much blood and money here, only to back the creation of an Islamist state ... I can't believe that's what the Americans really want or what the American people want."
Washington, with 140,000 troops still in Iraq, has insisted Iraqis are free to govern themselves but made clear it will not approve the kind of clerical rule seen in Shi'ite Iran, a state U.S. President George W. Bush describes as "evil".