Thursday, July 07, 2005

Shiites Creating a Taliban Paradise in Iraq

For all those who hoped a democratic Iraq would somehow arise from the ashes of Saddam's horrors, here's a little bit of a correction from Basra:

Ahmed Ali walked through a shop that sold musical instruments before it was gutted by a bombing a week earlier, the latest in a series of mysterious attacks in this narrow alley in the last half-year, he said. The men here, just a block from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, sell instruments by day and perform at weddings in the evening.

"They say it's forbidden by Islam," Mr. Ali, 18, said as he went back to his own shop, its shelves stocked with drums. "We're afraid of everything. I'm afraid of it all. I'm afraid even when I'm talking to you."

The once libertine oil port of Basra, 350 miles south of the capital and far from the insurgency raging in much of Iraq, is steadily being transformed into a mini-theocracy under Shiite rule. There is perhaps no better indication of the possible flash points in a Shiite-dominated Iraq, because the political parties that hold sway here also wield significant influence in the central government in Baghdad and are backed by the country's top clerics.

Civil war is the least we can expect. It's not impossible we'll see a large bloq of Shiite Iraq joined to Iran, whether officially or unofficially. And then, the Iraqis WILL have weapons of mass destruction. Good job, Dubya!


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