Followers of Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr carry an image of him and chant slogans against the U.S. and sectarianism during a protest in Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad on March 16, 2013.
Back in February, 2004, I described with great uneasiness the refusal of “moderate” Ayatollah Sistani (an Iraqi denizen, but one who never relinquished his Iranian citizenship) to meet with U.S. Civilian Administrator in Iraq, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer. At the time I suggested that al-Sistani’s spurning of Ambassador Bremer may well have reflected the odious and Sharia supremacist Shiite doctrine of “najas-based” regulations—the physical and spiritual debasing of the non-Muslim infidel for their alleged “uncleanliness” of body and mind. I ended with this foreboding observation:
For Ambassador Bremer to remain willfully oblivious to the deeply entrenched Shi’ite dogma of najas, or worse, ignoring and tacitly accepting its discriminatory effects, bodes poorly for American efforts to help Iraqis create a modern democratic and ecumenical society. The “culturally authentic” but brutally oppressive Shi’ite theocracy of neighboring Iran demonstrates clearly the corrosive impact of najas dogma in a contemporary Muslim society.
In a series of essays at The American Thinker, beginning in March of 2006 (here, here, and here), I warned of a policy failure that by virtue of its willful blindness to totalitarian Islam, was abetting Sharia supremacism, in general, and simultaneously, Iranian Sharia-based hegemonic aspirations, with regard to Iraq. By September 13, 2006, commenting on then President Bush II’s absurdly ebullient, making the world safe for Sharia assessment of the “accomplishments” in Iraq, I made this gloomy prognostication citing the same misplaced optimism expressed in 1935 by the British Arabist S.A. Morrison. Despite great expense of British blood and treasure, more than a decade of military occupation, and even after the Assyrian massacres (by Arab and Kurdish Muslims) of 1933-34, shortly after Britain’s withdrawal, Morrison wrote, (in “Religious Liberty in Iraq”, Moslem World, 1935, p. 128):
Iraq is moving steadily forward towards the modern conception of the State, with a single judicial and administrative system, unaffected by considerations of religion or nationality. The Millet system [i.e., dhimmitude—not reflected by this euphemism] still survives, but its scope is definitely limited. Even the Assyrian tragedy of 1933 does not shake our faith in the essential progress that has been made. The Government is endeavoring to carry out faithfully the undertakings it has given, even when these run directly counter to the long—cherished provisions of the Shari’a Law. But it is not easy; it cannot be easy in the very nature of the case, for the common people quickly to adjust their minds to the new legal situation, and to eradicate from their outlook the results covering many centuries of a system which implies the superiority of Islam over the non—Moslem minority groups. The legal guarantees of liberty and equality represent the goal towards which the country is moving, rather than the expression of the present thoughts and wishes of the population. The movement, however, is in the right direction, and it may yet prove possible for Islam to disentangle religious faith from political status and privilege.
I concluded with these disquieting observations (circa September, 2006), regarding unintended, if predictable Iranian empowerment, in particular:
Over seven decades later, the goals of true “liberty and equality” for Iraq remain just as elusive after yet another Western power has committed great blood and treasure toward that end. More ominously, Iraq’s newly empowered Shi’ites and their leaders appear to have forged an unholy alliance with Iran which is more likely to promote Sharia despotism, than liberal democracy. [emphasis added]
Now The Los Angeles Times (hat tip Jihad Watch) is formally acknowledging what I began warning about in 2004, and maintained was well underway by 2006. In a March 28, 2013 analysis with the eponymous title, “Ten years after Iraq war began, Iran reaps the gains,” reporter Ned Parker proffers these summary conclusions:
American military forces are long gone, and Iraqi officials say Washington’s political influence in Baghdad is now virtually nonexistent. Hussein is dead. But Iran has become an indispensable broker among Baghdad’s new Shiite elite, and its influence continues to grow.
Parker cites these two pathognomonic examples of the abject US policy failure in Iraq—which has clearly empowered Iran—the second despite ongoing, feckless American pursuit of our ostensibly “vital role” in mollifying “tensions” between Iraq’s sectarian Shiite and Sunni factions, and the inexorable spillover effect of this Shiite-Sunni animosity into the Syrian civil war:
The signs are evident in the prominence of pro-Iran militias on the streets, at public celebrations and in the faces of some of those now in the halls of power, men such as Abu Mehdi Mohandis, an Iraqi with a long history of anti-American activity and deep ties to Iran. During the occupation, U.S. officials accused Mohandis of arranging a supply of Iranian-made bombs to be used against U.S. troops. But now Iraqi officials say Mohandis speaks for Iran here, and Prime Minister Nouri Maliki recently entrusted him with a sensitive domestic political mission.
American officials say they remain vital players in Iraq and have worked to defuse tension between Maliki and his foes. During a visit to Baghdad on Sunday, however, Secretary of State John F. Kerry was unable to persuade Maliki to stop Iranian flights crossing Iraqi airspace to Syria. The U.S. charges that Iranian weapons shipments are key to propping up Syrian President Bashar Assad; Maliki says there is no proof that Tehran is sending anything besides humanitarian aid. Kerry’s visit was the first by a U.S. Cabinet official in more than a year.
Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism ” (Prometheus, November, 2008)