Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Above the Law

Iraq the Model has an interesting comment related to the theme of my post below. The whole post is worth reading but my attention was particularly arrested by last two paragraphs:

Those clerics do not sympathies with Sadr out of religious sentiments. They know very well that he’s not a pious guy and they often hate each other as they compete to gain the trust and lead of the common people. This meant huge money in the past and now it means money and power as some of them have entered politics now. Why would they care so much then?
I think the answer lies in one fact. There’s an unwritten law in most of the countries with considerable She’at presence that has always considered the clerics to be immune to the law. This doesn’t apply to all clerics, but only the very senior ones. With time, this law has expanded to protect most popular clerics. Now, Muqtada is certainly not a senior cleric, but his family name and the sacrifices they gave, gave him some holy shape in the eyes of some of the She’at. If this guy was arrested, this law would not be literally broken, but the event will have the same effect. Meaning every cleric will know that he is not above the law. This will be an innovation that will shake all clerics with political ambitions...

This strikes me as completely correct and very insightful. Tyrannies exist precisely because those in power want to be considered above the law; that is more or less the definition of tyranny. Ali, evidently, gets it. He continues:
Hence all this crap about "red lines" winch is no more than a big lie that should fool no one. People will certainly be saddened and some would be outraged if the holy shrines were affected, but their care about their lives and jobs certainly is more. Most She'at Iraqis are sentimental when it comes to religion, but not to that degree. The operation should go on with great care however, and will put all those hypocrites in their right places. No more adventures and no more Mahdi armies. This revolt can actually act as an immunization against more serious ones in the future that is if it was dealt with in the proper way. The patience of the coalition has paid its fruits and Muqtada should be *arrested* but certainly not killed and now, in my opinion, is the right time.

I think he's nailed it.

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