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Another Alternative - Far-Fetched?

Reader comment on item: A Strongman for Iraq?

Submitted by Ilona Melstrads (United States), Apr 28, 2003 at 13:37

Dr. Pipes may be absolutely right. But as far as the good strong-man precedent for Muslim countries is concerned, Kemal Ataturk probably succeeded in his policies because he was the brilliant military saviour of Turkey. Not only did he win at Gallipoli, but also over the 1922 Greek-English invasion of Turkey's mainland itself. A comparable Arab leader in Iraq is missing.

Another alternative may be this: to take the current Iranian constitution and modify it. During Garner's tenure, the parameters can be announced for discussion.

The Iranian Council of sharia scholars would be merely advisory, without veto power. Furthermore, it would not be a self-appointed council (the "Supreme Leader" no longer apppointing the other members, who in turn now re-affirm the position of the Supreme Leader, etc. The members would be either elected locallly or in some old-fashioned electoral college way.) The sharia council would also not be allowed to veto the government candidates for office, as is now the case in Iran. The main function of the council would be educational, and to advance Islamic law for modern times. (Two councils might be desirable, one for the Sunni law and the other for the Shia.)

Currently the "Islamic" govenrment of Iran functions like some self-selected and self-appointed U.S. corporate board. While this can often work for corporate profit-making boards, it is bad and inefficient if the self-selected board also rules a country with the help of a large secret police!

Also, a different approach to religious tolerance would be needed. Currently the Iranian constitution apparently only allows the Zoroastrian, Judaic and Christian religions. This could be expanded to include such world-religions as Buddhism. Or the constitution could be written to simply exclude totally aberrant sects. (Who really wants Branch Davidians?) The main problem of course would be to make clear that a Muslim can change his religion without reprisal. Ideally, the minority religions should also have their advisory councils of religious scholars, for commenting on government-proposed laws or administrative structures, but that is perhaps too much to ask.

Other needed modifications of the Iranian constitution would address the federalism issue, a different approach to internal security, and a clear forswearing of international terrorism.

As for direct democracy, the constitution can include a schedule from going to an electoral college type of administration to direct elections. As you noted, it took time in the U.S. to get to democracy.

There seem to be two advantages to starting with the Iranian constitution. It has many good features (even if they are just unreachable goals, such as universally high personal and social ethics). But it will show the Iranians how to adapt their existing constitution to one that is not dictatorial. They will not accept something totally different from what they have. So by rewriting the Iranian constitution for Iraq, you will have also written one for the younger Iranians. And the Iraqi Shiites will have something similar to what the Iranian republic now has.

As for such good Iranian constitutional goals as improved ethics of the population, while we may not like the idea of a constitution or a government stating it as a goal, it makes sense when you use some principles of Islamic law in the constitution. For the Iranian constitution also hopes that modern science will flourish and be applied. But if a central bank has to be monitoring interest rates in the country, the government and the law has to call the interest by its right name in economics, and not fudge it to superficially conform to some interpretations of Islamic law by calling it an administrative fee. The government would then be encouraging lying, which is in contradiction to its constitution if it requires high standards of behavior!

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (80) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Seven years later, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat agrees with this strategy [13 words]PezDispenserAug 7, 2010 17:27176465
A Strongman for Iraq... [369 words]Eleanor GoldsteinNov 12, 2006 11:0465916
Get real [165 words]DavidMay 26, 2004 15:1415371
Is it possible? [42 words]PamelaMay 10, 2003 18:248993
Freedom [23 words]StephenMay 6, 2003 04:198875
Why did we bother? [253 words]Glenn KlotzMay 5, 2003 13:428870
Faux strongman only [57 words]Erik RosaenMay 4, 2003 14:438862
Did the US inch to democracy in steps? [66 words]DerekMay 2, 2003 05:448837
Re: Pipes Is right [89 words]Khaldoun KhelilMay 2, 2003 03:358835
and who will pay? [139 words]royMay 1, 2003 20:538830
The real motives [138 words]Jose L AcevedoMay 1, 2003 19:158826
I agree with Jose L Acevedo [7 words]S Z KFeb 12, 2006 06:148826
Ignorance is bliss [90 words]PeterMay 1, 2003 11:118814
Nonsense [503 words]Abu FitnahMay 1, 2003 02:568812
Once Again, False Advertising [762 words]MarkMay 1, 2003 00:148811
Re-Install Saddam Hussein? [276 words]Oliver Boyd-BarrettApr 30, 2003 18:198807
I Don't see it working [124 words]Tom BewickApr 30, 2003 16:108805
Moderate Muslims [45 words]Ayesha A.Apr 30, 2003 15:148802
Maybe it won't take that long [102 words]R BargerApr 30, 2003 13:158797
Bravo - I think? [25 words]Bruce L. MurrayApr 30, 2003 11:568796
Lack of history sense [166 words]Neil AbramsonApr 30, 2003 11:458794
Please listen [22 words]John W. McGnleyApr 30, 2003 11:348793
Back to square one? [122 words]Ahmad Kamal AbdollahApr 30, 2003 10:258791
Who knows what Iraqi are capable of? [74 words]SallyApr 30, 2003 09:428789
Start a ccc program [96 words]Ted GreenApr 30, 2003 09:038788
Impossible [69 words]Philip SnyderApr 30, 2003 07:538785
Your disperect [634 words]Abdul Razak HarunApr 30, 2003 06:158784
Ataturk [112 words]JohnMay 21, 2008 16:068784
To John [277 words]Abdul RazakMay 22, 2008 03:338784
Saddam Hussein was a strongman... [128 words]H LuceApr 30, 2003 03:278782
Ditch The Onion, Try Scrappleface.com [142 words]John HadjiskyApr 29, 2003 21:118775
Not in our national interest [185 words]Sean OlsonApr 29, 2003 19:128774
Problems with Fundamentalism in Government [59 words]Jaime EisenApr 29, 2003 17:128773
Keep doing what you are doing... [134 words]John W. McGinleyApr 29, 2003 16:528769
Re: comment, "Arab Democracy" [54 words]Khaldoun KhelilApr 29, 2003 16:398768
Praiseworthy as always [15 words]Alexander BarrettoApr 29, 2003 15:548767
1Deja vu? [37 words]Jim VinselApr 29, 2003 13:568762
Auditions for Strongman [77 words]Philip R. JohnsonApr 29, 2003 13:248761
WANTED: Dead or Alive, WMD [56 words]sottomonApr 29, 2003 11:488759
Bravo for common sense! [38 words]Reuben LandauApr 29, 2003 11:408758
Iraqis demand "Yes to Islam" [82 words]A. A.Apr 29, 2003 09:318757
Arab democracy [71 words]Henry E WellingtonApr 29, 2003 03:248755
It might be good improvisation, but [163 words]Alain Jean-MairetApr 29, 2003 02:188754
Are you sure? [47 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Wallace Edward BrandApr 28, 2003 23:408752
Pipes is right. [182 words]Allen DaviesApr 28, 2003 22:358751
A Strongman for Iraq? Where can we find him? [179 words]Doris FitzgeraldApr 28, 2003 21:538750
Who's behind these mullahs? [43 words]D WeissApr 28, 2003 21:488749
Homegrown strongman wanted... apply inside [304 words]Khaldoun KhelilApr 28, 2003 19:488745
Militant Islam vs. Moderate Islam [84 words]Bruce GilboordApr 28, 2003 18:468742
I respectfully disagree [385 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Bill BrentApr 28, 2003 17:538739
Appreciation [135 words]Gary JonesApr 28, 2003 17:368738
Civil Rights Before Elections [226 words]David JacobApr 28, 2003 17:298737
The Evolution of a perceptual consciousness to a Conceptual one. [288 words]David SmithApr 28, 2003 17:098736
3There is no Difference between Islam and Radical Islam [548 words]Yael MedvedApr 28, 2003 16:538735
Basics in Iraq [225 words]Ron Burgo PhDApr 28, 2003 16:488734
Good ideas overall. [77 words]Gary FordApr 28, 2003 16:298733
Guiding Iraq toward Democracy [234 words]John F. BradleyApr 28, 2003 15:358730
Brilliant analysis! [77 words]Gorge SolomosApr 28, 2003 15:028729
Can I Use This in Indonesia? [439 words]William McAuleyApr 28, 2003 14:578728
Democracy: a red herring [368 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Alan NitikmanApr 28, 2003 14:548727
Wishful Thinking [271 words]E.A. RemlerApr 28, 2003 14:508726
Strongman for Iraq? [74 words]Sheldon RabinowitzApr 28, 2003 14:318725
Lasting Peace in Iraq? Divide Iraq along Ethnic and Religious Lines [329 words]William BryanApr 28, 2003 14:238724
Strongman for Iraq? [111 words]Kyle GosnellApr 28, 2003 14:138721
Correct Diagnosis, Wrong Prescription [256 words]Todd WinteringApr 28, 2003 13:538719
Another Alternative - Far-Fetched? [618 words]Ilona MelstradsApr 28, 2003 13:378718
In total agreement with your views [102 words]Carmen Waggoner, Ph.D.Apr 28, 2003 13:318717
I don't agree [136 words]TouficApr 28, 2003 13:208716
on "a strongman for Iraq" [79 words]Daniel TauberApr 28, 2003 13:118715
These two can't be together [175 words]George El MasriApr 28, 2003 12:458713
Comments to Iraqi Strongman [157 words]Mark SmithApr 28, 2003 12:278712
Strongman for Iraq [131 words]Toni HuppApr 28, 2003 11:568711
Strongman for Iraq [123 words]Jim SaxonApr 28, 2003 11:018708
The New Iraq [115 words]Hikmat FarajApr 28, 2003 10:118707
This is exactly what many feared. [94 words]BillApr 28, 2003 10:098706
We already have a strong man. [174 words]William HartApr 28, 2003 10:098705
U.S. Role in Iraq [157 words]A.J. KarloffApr 28, 2003 09:548703
On target! [62 words]GloriaApr 28, 2003 09:508702
Pervez Musharraf, for example? [51 words]Mel FechterApr 28, 2003 09:468700
Pretty interesting [19 words]NedraApr 28, 2003 06:478697

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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