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View Full Version : US concedes ground to Islamists on Iraqi law


Adept Havelock
08-20-2005, 04:42 PM
Just something interesting I ran across. Fodder for Moon Bats, Wing Nuts, and open minded people alike.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050820/ts_nm/iraq_dc

U.S. concedes ground to Islamists on Iraqi law By Luke Baker and Michael Georgy
Sat Aug 20, 1:33 PM ET



BAGHDAD (Reuters) - 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 President Bush describes as "evil."

U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has been guiding intensive meetings since parliament averted its own dissolution on Monday by giving constitution drafters another week to resolve crucial differences over regional autonomy and division of oil revenues.

Failing to finish by midnight on August 22 could provoke new elections and, effectively, a return to the drawing board for the entire constitutional process.

But a further extension may be more likely, as Washington insists the charter is key to its strategy to undermine the Sunni revolt and leave a new Iraqi government largely to fend for itself after U.S. troops go home.

Facing public discontent with his handling of Iraq, President Bush raised the specter of more September 11- style attacks if U.S. troops do not fight in places like Iraq.

"They (U.S. troops) know that if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets," he said in his weekly radio address.

An official of one of the main Shi'ite Islamist parties in the interim government confirmed the deal on law and Islam.

It was unclear what concessions the Shi'ites may have made, but it seemed possible their demands for Shi'ite autonomy in the oil-rich south, pressed this month by Islamist leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, may be watered down in the face of Sunni opposition.

"UNITY OF IRAQ"

Sunni Arab negotiator Saleh al-Mutlak also said a deal was struck which would mean parliament could pass no legislation that "contradicted Islamic principles." A constitutional court would rule on any dispute on that, the Shi'ite official said.

"The Americans agreed, but on one condition -- that the principles of democracy should be respected," Mutlak said.

"We reject federalism," he repeated, underlining continued Sunni opposition to Hakim's demands. Hundreds demonstrated in the Sunni city of Ramadi on Saturday, echoing Mutlak's views.

He urged Sunnis, dominant under Saddam Hussein but who have largely shunned politics and, in some cases, taken up arms in revolt, to vote in an October referendum to back a constitution.

Other Sunni leaders are also encouraging their followers to register for the referendum, in part to ensure they can block the constitution if they chose to oppose it down the road. If two thirds of voters in at least three of Iraq's 18 provinces vote no in October's referendum, the constitution is rejected.

The Kurdish negotiator rushed to make clear his outrage at a deal on Islam: "We don't want dictatorship of any kind, including any religious dictatorship.

"Perhaps the Americans are negotiating to get a deal at any cost, but we will not accept a constitution at any cost," he said, adding that he believed Shi'ite leaders had used the precedent of Afghanistan to win the ambassador's support.

Khalilzad, who has said there will be "no compromise" on equal rights for women and minorities, helped draft a constitution in his native Afghanistan that declared it an "Islamic Republic" in which no law could contradict Islam.

It also, however, contained language establishing equal rights for women and protecting religious minorities.

LOCKED IN TALKS

About a dozen senior leaders, representing the Shi'ite Islamist-led government, secular Shi'ite former prime minister Iyad Allawi, Kurds and Sunnis, were in talks on Saturday.

Sunni leaders say they are resigned to the Kurds maintaining their current autonomy in the north -- though not to the Kurds extending their territory into the northern oilfields -- but said they would not tolerate an autonomous Shi'ite region.

Ethnic tensions in the northern oil city of Kirkuk spilled on to the streets on Saturday as hundreds of Arabs demonstrated against federalism -- code for Kurdish ambitions to annex Kirkuk -- and gunmen shot up the office of a Kurdish political party for the second time in a month, wounding three guards.

In Baghdad, a U.S. soldier was killed when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb. South of the capital, a tribal sheikh was kidnapped in the latest sign of tribal tensions. Many tribes cut across sectarian lines, with Sunni and Shi'ites members.

memyselfI
08-21-2005, 02:21 PM
I guess this could be really bummer news if we weren't planning on having an Islamic government when we sent in our fellow citizens to fight and die in Iraq.

go bowe
08-21-2005, 02:30 PM
oh poo...

you communist whore, you...

all you can do is dehumanize and demonize everyone who disagrees with your treasonable terrorist activities...

why, i bet that you're plotting a suicide bombing right now, aren't you?

you hashy gash, you...

go back to alabama or wherever you come from, or is it from under a rock (i get sooo confused)?

better yet, move to france...

or somewhere...

geez, damn shit stirrer anyway... :p :p :p

go bowe
08-21-2005, 02:31 PM
i know i forgot something out of the standard diatribe, but i'm getting old and forgetful...

memyselfI
08-21-2005, 02:31 PM
oh poo...

you communist whore, you...

all you can do is dehumanize and demonize everyone who disagrees with your treasonable terrorist activities...

why, i bet that you're plotting a suicide bombing right now, aren't you?

you hashy gash, you...

go back to alabama or wherever you come from, or is it from under a rock (i get sooo confused)?

better yet, move to france...

or somewhere...

geez, damn shit stirrer anyway... :p :p :p

Damn, you could play Iraqi Iowa in the movie... :p :clap:

Logical
08-21-2005, 04:12 PM
I view this as encouraging, it is a sign that maybe we are starting to develop realistic goals for Iraq. Now if we would just get out of bed with Al Sadr I would say things are really starting to look up.

mlyonsd
08-21-2005, 06:29 PM
Damn, you could play Iraqi Iowa in the movie... :p :clap:

Come on, that's beneath you. Or at least I hope it is.

Logical
08-21-2005, 07:37 PM
Come on, that's beneath you. Or at least I hope it is.

Pretty tame if you ask me considering all the people calling her terroristme, Al Quadaslut/whore etc. Her restraint is amazing and facing fact Iowanian has really joined Big Daddy in going overboard with it.

BIG_DADDY
08-22-2005, 03:00 PM
Pretty tame if you ask me considering all the people calling her terroristme, Al Quadaslut/whore etc. Her restraint is amazing and facing fact Iowanian has really joined Big Daddy in going overboard with it.

She is a POS terrorist supporting American hating traitor that can't even stay dedicated to one football team much less this country or those who provide the very freedom that allows her to spout off all the time. Sorry Jim but when she started calling terrorists freedom fighters when many of us have family over there it was over the line for me. To say I'm the one that's going overboard after that is nothing short of amazing.

vailpass
08-22-2005, 03:18 PM
IMHO Progress is being made. The Kurds and Shiites are ready to take their share and go. The minority Sunnis, who sponsor the terrorits known as "insurgents", are holding out to make sure they get their slice of the oil money.
These opposing feudal systems can never be trusted to agree on anything for long; their political culture has not advanced from where they were 2000 years ago.


BAGHDAD, Iraq - In another dramatic last-minute standoff, Iraqi leaders late Monday put off a vote on a the country's new constitution, adjourning Parliament at a midnight deadline in order to gain time to try to win over the Sunni Arab minority whose support is key to ending the insurgency.
Negotiators finished the draft constitution Monday and prepared to submit it to parliament as the lawmakers convened minutes before a midnight deadline. But the negotiators withdrew the draft in the final minutes because of fierce resistance from Sunnis over the issue of federalism, which they fear could cut them out of most of the country's vast oil wealth.
Parliament speaker Hajim al-Hassani said there was strong interest in reaching unanimity on the draft "so that the constitution pleases everyone."

"All these groups in the coming three days will try, God willing, to reach accord on some points that are still disagreements amount the groups on them," he said. "The draft constitution has been received and we will work on solving the remaining problems." He then adjourned the session without a vote.

Several issues still left to be resolved

Afterward, he told reporters that the main outstanding issues were federalism, the formation of federal units, problems related to mentioning the Baath Party in the constitution, and the division of powers between the president, the parliament and the Cabinet.
The numerous remaining issues cast doubt whether the Iraqis would be able to finish the document within a few days since the various groups have widely differing positions on all those points.

...
"It is not possible to please everyone," said Humam Hammoudi, Shiite chairman of the 71-member committee that struggled for weeks to try to complete the draft. "But many things have been achieved in this constitution and we hope it will be a real step toward stability."

First deadline passed last week
The first deadline to adopt a constitution expired a week ago, with Parliament voting to extend it for seven days. The legislature supposedly had to disband if the deadline was not met, but lawmakers said nothing about that late Monday.

Shiites and Kurds have enough seats in parliament to win approval for a draft without the Sunni Arabs. But the Sunni minority could scuttle the constitution when voters decide whether to ratify it in the Oct. 15 referendum. Under current rules, the constitution would be defeated if it is opposed by two-thirds of the voters in three of Iraq's 18 provinces. Sunni Arabs form the majority in at least four.

In addition, an attempt by Shiites and Kurds to win parliamentary agreement without the Sunnis could risk a backlash within the community that is at the forefront of the insurgency and undercut U.S. hopes to begin withdrawing troops next year.
The Kurds demand federalism to protect their self-rule in three northern provinces. Sunni Arabs oppose that, fearing Kurds want to declare independence. Shiites are divided, with factions supporting federalism wanting to build a Shiite region in the south.

Meanwhile, violence persists
The showdown on the constitution came as violence persisted in Iraq.

The U.S. military said two U.S. soldiers from Task Force Liberty were killed Monday by a roadside bomb during a combat patrol north of Baghdad, and two more soldiers died when their vehicle overturned during a military operation near Tal Afar. At least 1,870 U.S. troops have died since the Iraq war started in 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

President Bush defended the war in Iraq on Monday in the face of growing skepticism, asserting that "a policy of retreat and isolation will not bring us safety" from terrorism.

"The only way to defend to our citizens where we live is to go after the terrorists where they live," Bush said in Salt Lake City in a speech to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

2005 The Associated Press.

Uatu
08-22-2005, 03:51 PM
Sorry Jim but when she started calling terrorists freedom fighters when many of us have family over there it was over the line for me.

Yeah, that's definitely past the point of general decency up to which point courtesy is owed.

memyselfI
08-22-2005, 05:01 PM
Pretty tame if you ask me considering all the people calling her terroristme, Al Quadaslut/whore etc. Her restraint is amazing and facing fact Iowanian has really joined Big Daddy in going overboard with it.

Thank you. Those names are reflective more of them than they are of me. What bugs me is their outright lying about my supposedly calling terrorists freedom fighters...conveniently leaving out the rest of my quote:

'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.'

Ugly Duck
08-22-2005, 11:45 PM
I guess this could be really bummer news if we weren't planning on having an Islamic government when we sent in our fellow citizens to fight and die in Iraq.Hey now.... you know darn well that creating an Islamic Republic wasn't our only reason for invading. Have you forgotten the yellow-cake uranium? The Aluminum tubes for enriching it? The unmanned drones capable of reaching the US? The pictures of the mobile Bio-Terrorism trucks? The "Mushroom Cloud" speech? The "We Know Where the WMD Are" speech? There were plenty of auxillary reasons for invading beyond the mere creation of another Islamic Republic in the region. Or have you just conveniently forgotten about all that stuff?

Ugly Duck
08-23-2005, 12:45 AM
Under US noses, brutal insurgents rule Sunni citadel

Guardian gains rare access to Iraqi town and finds it fully in control of 'mujahideen'

Omer Mahdi in Haditha and Rory Carroll in Baghdad
Monday August 22, 2005
The Guardian


The executions are carried out at dawn on Haqlania bridge, the entrance to Haditha. A small crowd usually turns up to watch even though the killings are filmed and made available on DVD in the market the same afternoon.

One of last week's victims was a young man in a black tracksuit. Like the others he was left on his belly by the blue iron railings at the bridge's southern end. His severed head rested on his back, facing Baghdad. Children cheered when they heard that the next day's spectacle would be a double bill: two decapitations. A man named Watban and his brother had been found guilty of spying.

With so many alleged American agents dying here Haqlania bridge was renamed Agents' bridge. Then a local wag dubbed it Agents' fridge, evoking a mortuary, and that name has stuck.

A three-day visit by a reporter working for the Guardian last week established what neither the Iraqi government nor the US military has admitted: Haditha, a farming town of 90,000 people by the Euphrates river, is an insurgent citadel.

That Islamist guerrillas were active in the area was no secret but only now has the extent of their control been revealed. They are the sole authority, running the town's security, administration and communications.

A three-hour drive north from Baghdad, under the nose of an American base, it is a miniature Taliban-like state. Insurgents decide who lives and dies, which salaries get paid, what people wear, what they watch and listen to.

Haditha exposes the limitations of the Iraqi state and US power on the day when the political process is supposed to make a great leap - a draft constitution finalised and approved by midnight tonight.

For politicians and diplomats in Baghdad's fortified green zone the constitution is a means to stabilise Iraq and woo Sunni Arabs away from the rebellion. For Haditha, 140 miles north-west of the capital, whether a draft is agreed is irrelevant. Residents already have a set of laws and rules promulgated by insurgents.

Within minutes of driving into town the Guardian was stopped by a group of men and informed about rule number one: announce yourself. The mujahideen, as they are known locally, must know who comes and goes.

The Guardian reporter did not say he worked for a British newspaper. For their own protection interviewees cannot be named.

There is no fighting here because there is no one to challenge the Islamists. The police station and municipal offices were destroyed last year and US marines make only fleeting visits every few months.

Two groups share power. Ansar al-Sunna is a largely homegrown organisation, though its leader in Haditha is said to be foreign. Al-Qaida in Iraq, known locally by its old name Tawhid al-Jihad, is led by the Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. There was a rumour that Zarqawi, Washington's most wanted militant after Osama bin Laden, visited early last week. True or not, residents wanted to believe they had hosted such a celebrity.

A year ago Haditha was just another sleepy town in western Anbar province, deep in the Sunni triangle and suspicious of the Shia-led government in Baghdad but no insurgent hotbed.

Then, say residents, arrived mostly Shia police with heavyhanded behaviour. "That's how it began," said one man. Attacks against the police escalated until they fled, creating a vacuum filled by insurgents.

Alcohol and music deemed unIslamic were banned, women were told to wear headscarves and relations between the sexes were closely monitored. The mobile phone network was shut down but insurgents retained their walkie-talkies and satellite phones. Right-hand lanes are reserved for their vehicles.

From attacks on US and Iraqi forces it is clear that other Anbar towns, such as Qaim, Rawa, Anna and Ramadi, are to varying degrees under the sway of rebels.

In Haditha hospital staff and teachers are allowed to collect government salaries in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, but other civil servants have had to quit.

Last year the US trumpeted its rehabilitation of a nearby power plant: "The incredible progress at Haditha is just one example of the huge strides made by the US army corps of engineers."

Now insurgents earn praise from residents for allegedly pressuring managers to supply electricity almost 24 hours a day, a luxury denied the rest of Iraq.

The court caters solely for divorces and marriages. Alleged criminals are punished in the market. The Guardian witnessed a headmaster accused of adultery whipped 190 times with cables. Children laughed as he sobbed and his robe turned crimson.

Two men who robbed a foreign exchange shop were splayed on the ground. Masked men stood on their hands while others broke their arms with rocks. The shopkeeper offered the insurgents a reward but they declined.

DVDs of beheadings on the bridge are distributed free in the souk. Children prefer them to cartoons. "They should not watch such things," said one grandfather, but parents appeared not to object.

One DVD features a young, blond muscular man who had been disembowelled. He was said to have been a member of a six-strong US sniper team ambushed and killed on August 1. Residents said he had been paraded in town before being executed.

The US military denied that, saying six bodies were recovered and that all appeared to have died in combat. Shortly after the ambush three landmines killed 14 marines in a convoy which ventured from their base outside the town.

Twice in recent months marines backed by aircraft and armour swept into Haditha to flush out the rebels. In a pattern repeated across Anbar there were skirmishes, a few suspects killed or detained, and success was declared.

In reality, said residents, the insurgents withdrew for a few days and returned when the Americans left. They have learned from last November's battle in Falluja, when hundreds died fighting the marines and still lost the city.

Now their strategy appears to be to wait out the Americans, calculating they will leave within a few years, and then escalate what some consider the real war against a government led by Shias, a rival sect which Sunni extremists consider apostasy.

The US military declined to respond to questions detailing the extent of insurgent control in the town.

There was evidence of growing cooperation between rebels. A group in Falluja, where the resistance is said to be regrouping, wrote to Haditha requesting background checks on two volunteers from the town.

One local man in his 40s told the Guardian he wanted to be a suicide bomber to atone for sins and secure a place in heaven. "But the mujahideen will not let me. They said I had eight children and it was my duty to look after them."

Tribal elders said they feared but respected insurgents for keeping order and not turning the town into a battleground.

They appear to have been radicalised, and condemned Sunni groups, such as the Iraqi Islamic party and the Muslim Scholars' Association, for engaging in the political process.

The constitution talks, the referendum due in October, the election due in December: all are deemed collaboration punishable by death. The task now is to bleed the Americans and destabilise the government. Some call that nihilism. Haditha calls it the future.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1553969,00.html