[FoRK] U.S. Officially Surrenders in Iraq, Launches Civil War

Adam L Beberg beberg
Sat Aug 20 16:15:44 PDT 2005


It's over. Iraq joins Iran in theocracy and repression, again. Women 
re-chained to their kitchen sink, Jews killed on sight. Civil war is now 
a certainty. Try to look surprised (I know it's hard to do).

Aren't you glad 1,800 Americians died for their "freedom".

====================

U.S. concedes ground to Islamists on Iraqi law

By Luke Baker and Michael GeorgySat Aug 20, 2:30 PM ET

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.



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