Sunday, December 17, 2006

Anyone missed this?

In case anyone missed it, please take the time to read this, which was posted earlier today, and which a lot of people have found extremely helpful. It's modern Iraqi history washed clean of the American propaganda, without being argumentative about it, and it's essential background for seeing where the current political movements fit.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting, informative and seemingly authoritative piece. However, there is significant documentation that runs counter to the notion that the Iraqi Shia are essentially Iraqi/Arab nationalist.

Historians writing late 19 th and early 20 th century articles for the Encyclopedia Britannica on Shiaism (Sp?) and the historian A. J. Toynbee writing in the 1920’s argue that Shiaism starting in Southern Iraq is essentially Persian and the southern Iraqis at the turn of the 19-20 century manifested Persian life styles significantly different from Northern Sunni’s.

Under Saddam many Shia went into exile to Iran; not Arab countries. Today, there are numerous documented references of Sunni’s referring to Shia as Persians. Saudis refer to a Shia crescent i.e. southern Iraq aliened with Iran. The Shia are major proponents of Federalism i.e. a non-unified Iraq.

I am not by any means a scholar. However, there is significant documented contradictions of the notion that the Shia of southern Iraq essentially identify themselves as Iraqi/Arab nationalist just like the northern Sunni’s and they are inflecting on each other horrific suffering for not so very clear reasons having to do with Saddam, the U.S. etc.

Respectfully yours

4:53 AM  
Blogger badger said...

A lot of trouble can be caused by lumping Shiia together and trying to determine what "they essentially" are.

(1) SCIRI, which has its base in the urban business class, is for federalism, but the Sadrists are vehemently opposed.

(2) But I think the main point was that the immediate trigger for the current Sunni-Shia troubles traces back to the 20th century political developments that made Shiites the natural target for a weakened Saddam. As against that, there were shared Shiite-Sunni experiences that tended in the nationalist direction. It was the US intervention that pushed the thing in the wrong direction. So it isn't a question of DNA testing on southern Shiites. It's a question of whether the current troubles are merely the outcome of a millenia-old antagonism, and answer to that is no.

The reason people found this enlightening is that it helps debunk the current American excuse for what they have done, namely, that "this was bound to happen anyway".

I don't know if this helps any...

My dad used to have one of those old 1911 Britannicas too. They're fun to read...

6:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had missed this link. Thanks for reminding us.

10:03 AM  

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