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A Very Shia Christmas?
By Larry Johnson
If you've paid attention to the right wing flapping about the so called "war on Christmas" (i.e., the apparent plot of politicians and merchants to substitute the phrase "Happy Holidays" for "Christmas") you are getting an inkling of the future of Iraq. With the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity railing against those who don't want to bow the knee to Jesus, we are getting a taste of what life in the new Iraq will be like. The religious extremists in our country, who insist that there is no compromise when it comes to Jesus, capture perfectly the mentality of the folks who are poised to take the reins of power in Baghdad. Note, even some of the President's most stalwart supporters among evangelical Christians have made quite a show of throwing away the "Holiday" card sent by the White House. Welcome to the American Taliban.
Next week's elections in Iraq will come off successfully in those parts inhabited by a majority of Shia and Kurds. Even in the Sunni heartland the vote will take place, but Shias will receive a disproportionate share of the vote. Following the December 15 election the Shia will consolidate their power in Iraq. Don't be surprised if the Shia purge the Defense Ministry of Sunni influence as one of their first acts.
More importantly, the Shia will establish an Islamic state. They are not inclined to accept a secular state. They will rule according to their interpretation of the Quran. The pressure President Bush confronts from his supporters to toe the line in honoring and worshipping Jesus is miniscule compared to what awaits the new Iraqi leaders, who will be expected to adhere to the strictest tenets of Islam. One nettlesome issue is that the Sunnis have a different view of what constitutes appropriate religious observance. And, from the Shia perspective, the Sunnis are heretics. This religious tension will drive the future of Iraq over the next several years and the results will be deterimental to the United States.
We also should not be surprised when the Shia militia turn their full fury on Sunni enclaves. They are going to consolidate their control with us or without us. The ultimate irony here is that we are enabling the Shia, who are heavily backed by Iran, to consolidate their power in contrast to our policy of the previous 20 years, when we backed Saddam to contain the spread of the Islamic extremism supported and spread by Tehran. We are the midwife of a new Shia state. You're doing a heck of a job Bushie.