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Old 03-21-2004, 02:32 PM   #16
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So, is the world a better place without Saddam?
Potentially yes. If democracy succeeds in Iraq, yes. If they adopt a system like that of Iran or Saudi Arabia, Iraq is screwed, and so is democracy all over the globe. I don't have a crystal ball to forsee what kind of government Iraq has this time next year. I'm nervous that prolonged fighting and instability will swing Iraqis into the camp of a "one, strong leader" who turns Iraq into an authoritarian Islamicist state a la Iran or Saudi Arabia. I think that's a possibility. I sincerely hope this doesn't happen. The last damn thing I want is to see fanatics lining up women who aren't wearing burqas and whipping them or whatever. But this is going on in Afghanistan, despite the overthrow of the Taliban. I wouldn't call Iraq "out of the woods" as far as certain political perils are concerned.
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Old 03-21-2004, 03:55 PM   #17
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Potentially yes. If democracy succeeds in Iraq, yes. If they adopt a system like that of Iran or Saudi Arabia, Iraq is screwed, and so is democracy all over the globe. I don't have a crystal ball to forsee what kind of government Iraq has this time next year. I'm nervous that prolonged fighting and instability will swing Iraqis into the camp of a "one, strong leader" who turns Iraq into an authoritarian Islamicist state a la Iran or Saudi Arabia. I think that's a possibility. I sincerely hope this doesn't happen. The last damn thing I want is to see fanatics lining up women who aren't wearing burqas and whipping them or whatever. But this is going on in Afghanistan, despite the overthrow of the Taliban. I wouldn't call Iraq "out of the woods" as far as certain political perils are concerned.
No matter what government evolves in Iraq, it will not be the government of Saddam which #1 constantly threatened the security and stability of the other countries in the region. #2 I doubt it would be worse domestically for Iraqi's if you understand what Saddam did while he was in power. #3 Iran today is not the Iran of 1979. The Conservatives have far less power there than they did in 1979, and the coming population boom in Iran will likely push them out. #4 From and international security perspective, I would prefer an Iran type government or Saudi type government to Saddam any day. That being said, I don't see Iraq developing an Iran style or Saudi style government.

While the Shia form 60% of the country, they are not so powerful that they can force the other 40% of the country into an extreme Islamist form of government. More importantly, the Shia of Iraq are not the Shia of Iran. Despite Saddam's brutality, Iraq under Saddam was the most Secular Arab country in the world. The Conservative Iraqi Shia's are not going to be able to undue that fact.

Ultimately, I think democracy will succeed in Iraq as long as serious divisions do not develop between the parties. Iraq does not have the same history of sectarian violence that the former Yugoslavia had despite their many differences. Saddam was brutal to everyone except a select group of Sunni's.
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Old 03-21-2004, 04:29 PM   #18
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No matter what government evolves in Iraq, it will not be the government of Saddam which #1 constantly threatened the security and stability of the other countries in the region. #2 I doubt it would be worse domestically for Iraqi's if you understand what Saddam did while he was in power. #3 Iran today is not the Iran of 1979. The Conservatives have far less power there than they did in 1979, and the coming population boom in Iran will likely push them out. #4 From and international security perspective, I would prefer an Iran type government or Saudi type government to Saddam any day. That being said, I don't see Iraq developing an Iran style or Saudi style government.

While the Shia form 60% of the country, they are not so powerful that they can force the other 40% of the country into an extreme Islamist form of government. More importantly, the Shia of Iraq are not the Shia of Iran. Despite Saddam's brutality, Iraq under Saddam was the most Secular Arab country in the world. The Conservative Iraqi Shia's are not going to be able to undue that fact.

Ultimately, I think democracy will succeed in Iraq as long as serious divisions do not develop between the parties. Iraq does not have the same history of sectarian violence that the former Yugoslavia had despite their many differences. Saddam was brutal to everyone except a select group of Sunni's.
The Sunnis could create problems also. The Wahhabists are Sunni. In fact, the terrorists busted for the bombing of the Shia mosque in Iraq were Wahhabists, some from Saudi Arabia and some from Iraq. Bin Laden's background is Wahhabist, and therefore Sunni also. However, he's worked with Shias also. I would hope that people of this type don't prevail in Iraq, but their presence is a worry for me. Trust me, I do not like these people. I don't want them to get any power. They worry me. They've gotten power in other countries with stability problems. Right now it looks like lack of stability is the main problem in Iraq. This is a hell of a scary problem.
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