Parasites In The Lands Of The Infidels

Egypt’s Resilient and Evolving Social Activism

Why did Trump strike Syria?

In an interview, Amr Adly discusses his recent Carnegie paper on Egypt’s large private enterprises.

It’s Time to Take a Hard Look at the U.S. Relationship With Egypt

As we work to eradicate ISIS, Iraq's Christians, Yizidis need our help now more than ever

Should America’s Refugee Policy Put Persecuted Christians First?

Muslims Were Banned From the Americas as Early as the 16th Century

Review: ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ Will Make You Rethink Race

Inside Trump’s shadow national security council

Turkey in Transition (?): Before and After the Attempted July Coup

Trump Signs Executive Order Curbing Obamacare

Lion's Den :: Daniel Pipes Blog


Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries

35 Entrepreneurs Making a Difference in the Arab World

Trump could cause ‘the death of think tanks as we know them’

The Arabs had a country

The Islamic State is attaining its key goal, and U.S. media find the story of “limited interest

While the Muslim Brotherhood gets all the ink, the Salafists go on a rampage.

Egypt, I like your style

The warning bells are ringing

To the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces

A test for the Muslim Brotherhood

Egypt’s changing foreign policy

Egypt beyond Mubarak

The dissolution of the NDP

Remaking Cairo from below

Why Egypt should join the ICC

No citizenship without social justice

Mubarak's message

A new era for US-Egypt relations?

The old regime must be prosecuted

Revolution Interrupted? Liberating the media

The Brotherhood on the edge of reform


Buying the People’s Assembly

What do Salafis really want?

A state of counter-emergency

Minimum wage a cure for 'corruption'

Beyond the referendum

Reform security, secure reform

The Tunisian Revolution: Initial Reflections

The Egyptian Revolution: First Impressions from the Field

Lest the revolution turn into a wasted opportunity

The U.S. Should Not Get Involved in Libya

Five positions on the revolution

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Rethinking Internal Security in Egypt

Leo Strauss and the Grand Inquisitor

Push ahead now for a solution in Palestine

The Ongoing Attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christians


Saudi Arabia and the Spectre of Protest

America Quiet on the Execution of Afghan Christian Said Musa

Egypt’s Copts in Al-Qaeda’s Sights

The Worldwide Danger of Religious Fundamentalism

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Some Discussions about Qur’an, Violence and Fitnah

Terror in the Name of God

The Adventure of an Islamic Reformer at Oxford, London, and Istanbul

Thank God for Justice

Using C hristian Principles to Enhance Economic Theory and Practice:

Worldwide Hate Speech Laws?

Freedom Agenda In Flames

Commentary: Candidates should seek votes of Muslim-Americans

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Indian Muslims and 'Terrorism': Some Searching Questions

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Book Review: Islam in Post-Modern World

The Concept of Jihad in Islam

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Terrorising Muslims in the Name of Countering Terrorism

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How will the Georgian struggle affect Iraq?

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Can Iraq be ruled successfully by a Shia/Kurdish coalition?

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Norman G. Kurland, J.D

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Allah's Miracles in the Qur'an

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Can Iraq be ruled successfully by a Shia/Kurdish coalition?

  by: : Khalid Issa Taha

Can Iraq be ruled successfully by a Shia/Kurdish coalition?

In the 1920s both the Kurdish and Shia populations of Iraq played a role in resisting British colonial rule. In the south Shia religious leaders called for jihad against the British occupation.

Traditionally, the Shias have been strongly influenced by their religious leaders whilst the Sunni Arabs have played prominent roles in the army and government. During the Ottoman period Sunni Arabs like Nuri Said studied at military academies in Istanbul.

When Faisal became king of Iraq in 1921 a semi-democratic form of government was installed with a Parliament modelled on the British system. Many Sunnis took up political careers; the Shia tended to dominate in business and trade. However, the Sunni Arabs were wise enough to ensure that a certain number of ministerial posts, including that of Prime Minister, were often taken by Shia and Kurds.

The cruelties inflicted during Saddam’s rule played a large role in radicalising the Shia and Kurdish communities. Leaders such as Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim, Jalal Talabani and Mustafa Barzani became convinced that their communities would only survive if they were able to control the political arena. They began to lobby for American action against Saddam.

The 11th September 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Centre provided a pretext for some anti-Saddam Iraqis to exaggerate Iraq’s military capabilities and aggressive intent in the Middle East. The spectre of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) was used to justify the American invasion.

It became apparent to me during the conference held in London in December 2002 that two agendas were taking shape – the overthrow of Saddam and the installation of a Shia and Kurdish dominated government. Now, six years later, we are faced with the results of these policies.

Kurdish and Shia rule has proved chaotic and divisive, not least for the Kurdish and Shia communities themselves. The dissolution of the Iraqi army and the collapse of border controls between Iraq and Iran allowed Iraqi society to be infiltrated by religious militias. The Iranian government believed, mistakenly, that all Iraqi Shia would favour rule by religious leaders who took their orders direct from Tehran.

Many Iraqi Shia are proud of their religious and national identities and have no wish to become part of a greater Iran. They remember that most Iranians were not even Shia before their forced conversion at the hands of Shah Ismail in the sixteenth century. Why should these relative newcomers to the faith impose their views on people whose ancestors have guarded the holy shrines at Najaf and Karbala since the seventh century?

Now America and the government in Baghdad are faced with distrust between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds and conflict between pro-Iranian and pro-Iraqi Shia militias. This is the inevitable result of a policy based on two errors – belief in the presence of WMD and belief that a country can be ruled successfully on a sectarian basis.

London 20.08.2008
Khalid Issa Taha
Chairman: Lawyers Beyond Borders Organization
Attorney at Law & Legal Consultant
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