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Iraq: An Islamic Marriage without Divorce? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, said that the alliance between the State of Law coalition and the National Iraqi Alliance is like a “permanent Muslim marriage.” However Muslims can also divorce, which is the most abhorred halal [religiously permissible] act to God, and Muslims are also permitted to marry more than one wife, therefore the question is what kind of marriage are we seeing in Iraq? And is what Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim said realistic?

Firstly, what the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq said about a permanent relationship between the two Shiite allies does not seem realistic. This is based upon what Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim himself said during an interview that was published in our newspaper yesterday when answering a question on the Iranian pressure on the two major Shiite powers in Iraq to form an alliance. He said “it is no secret that the Islamic Republic, in its view of the scene and its complications, was perhaps in favor of these powers joining or converging, and this is an issue that cannot be denied, that there is a desire of this kind.” Therefore what is happening in Iraq today is a strictly sectarian operation, and not a democratic operation or state-building. This is something that represents an exclusion, and not just of the Sunnis, but of all Iraqi components, and unfortunately all of this is taking place as a result of clear Iranian planning, and is being justified by some Iraqis.

I was extremely frustrated by what Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told our newspaper a few days ago, when he said candidly, although wrongly, that in Iraq “there are facts that are not man-made and some people when they write disregard the existence of such facts. For instance, the existence of the Shiite Arab constituent, the Sunni Arab constituent, and the Kurdish constituent, is not an assumption, illusion, or product of some imagination, but it is a clear fact on the land of Iraq for hundreds of years.” He also stated that “the sect is a historical fact; however sectarianism is different from sect. The sect exists in the same way the nationality exists. Nationalities come after the sects. The existence of the Turkish nationality and the Turkoman nationality is a fact; the existence of the Chaldean-Assyrian nationality in addition to the Arab nationality is firm facts. This is the structure of Iraq, and I believe that this structure makes it imperative to have accord and coalition for a long time. Therefore, we ought to rely on facts and reality, and not on suspicions or wishful thinking.”

The problem with this argument is that it frustrates every sincere desire to see a new Iraqi regime that is based upon a state of institutions, rather than a sectarian Iraq, or an Iraqi that is following in the footsteps of Lebanon, under the guise of [national] agreement. This so-called [national] agreement is clearly nothing more than the desires of Iran, and this is something that was confirmed by Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim. It would be better for Iraq and the Iraqi people if they agreed to build a strong state, protected by nationalism, rather than sectarianism or tribalism, for the last thing that anybody wants to see Iraq returning to the past. Sectarianism and tribalism are a reality in our Arab nations, so must we also take a step backwards and destroy everything that we built? Of course, this is something that does not make any sense.

Therefore the very least that can be said about the current marriage in Iraq is “abandon it for it is rotten!”

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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