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Iraq: A Shiite Theocracy?
by J. Grant Swank, Jr., Pastor
11 May 2003

The majority of Iraqis know that it is to their benefit to band together around what they have now in common — freedom. For this freedom, they will make certain that no one faction has absolute control.

No. It will not become a Shiite theocracy, though minority enthusiasts representing the Shiites get photo op attention. That is but a mask of power. It is not real power and the Iraqis themselves know that.

The Shiites themselves have no central power akin to Roman Catholicism. The Shiites are fractured; this makes them politically weak. Even in Iran, the populace will not stand for a cleric centered politic; Iranians regard the mullahs with little respect. In addition, they consider the so-called Islamic revolution disastrous.

What is shown in the Iraqi streets as revolution by the Shiites is but a theatric of programmed minorities, many in touch and infiltrated by Tehran, the seat for 20 years of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

The Shiite mouthpieces in Iraq will not overcome that nation so as to control it with a theocracy. Iraqi culture in itself is multi-dimensional. It has many faces. Therefore, the majority of Iraqis know that it is to their benefit to band together — not around a Shiite theocracy — but what they have now in common — freedom. For this freedom, they will make certain that no one faction has absolute control.

Then walks in US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to once again assure that the US will not permit one faction to rule or a theocracy to emerge. Instead, he continues to pronounce that a democracy will establish itself with Iraqi oversight.

Does this mean that it will be easy? No. Any reasonable US-led coalition leader knows that it will not be easy; however, they believe that, considering the realities of Iraq and its thirty years of bloody despotism, the populace is ready to give itself a democracy — a pluralistic environs that is truly open.

Realizing that, the US now provides the New Iraq with military might necessary to see through the pluralistic politic. In other words, in reality there will be those factions that will strive for absolute control. There will be those minorities that will seek to play as majority presence. However, the US-led coalition and Iraqi leaders both recognize all that and so will not permit that to develop.

It is a delicate balance: the US-led coalition not wanting to appear as an occupying force while at the same time guiding the New Iraq away from factious rule into a genuine pluralistic free rule. Not easy, but indeed possible.

Therefore, the US is commissioning 4000 more soldiers, saturated with Military Police, to be on site in the New Iraq. This will squelch the ambitions of the factious minorities to take over with their show of might.

At the same time, the US continues to ignore the bellicose blustering of an irrelevant United Nations as well as the strut and dance of various European egoists. Such a coalition stance is as breathing daily fresh air to the coalition leadership.

There simply will be no tolerance for empty heads calling the shots in the New Iraq — either from Middle East minorities, European mouthpieces or the Manhattan UN edifice.

Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is the Pastor of New Hope Church in Windham, ME.  He is a a graduate of an accredited college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at Harvard Divinity School.  Pastor Swank has been married for 41 years and he has 3 adult children.  He is the author of 5 books and over 2000 articles in various Protestant and Catholic magazines, journals and newspapers. He writes a weekly religion column for PORTLAND PRESS HERALD newspaper, Portland ME.  His columns have appeared on,,,,,,,,, among others.

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