George W. Bush sure knows a lot more than the experts. He believes intelligent design is a scientific theory on par with evolution–even though his science adviser has said that I.D. has no merit as a scientific theory. He also seems to be more wise in the ways of Iraqi society and politics than leading Iraqis. On Tuesday Bush praised the draft constitution hammered out by Shiites and Kurds without Sunni involvement. He called it an “amazing event.” But as the New York Times and other papers have reported, Iraqi secular leaders have warned that this constitution could lead to domination of Iraq by Shiite Islamic clerics.
Most notably, on the same day that Bush was hyping the draft constitution, Ghassan Atiyyah, the director of the Baghdad-based Iraq Foundation for Development and Democracy, was on NPR explaining why the constitution could be dangerous for secularists, women and others in Iraq. Before sharing some quotes, let me note that Atiyyah has been supported by Bush’s closest, pro-war allies. The neoconnish Foundation for the Defense of Democracies has hosted him in Washington. The International Republican Institute, the global arm of the GOP, has provided Atiyyah’s outfit assistance. Its website notes:
Headed by Ghassan Atiyyah, a respected Iraqi dissident and publisher of the oppositionist periodical The Iraqi File, the IFDD is a regionally based non-governmental organization committed to supporting democracy and development in Iraq by fostering dialogue between decision-makers and citizens on important social, economic, and political issues. A primary goal of the Foundation is to bring together people of diverse ethnic, religious, political and tribal backgrounds to build consensus on finding solutions to the issues most important to the Iraqi people and for assisting in the promotion of freedom and democracy. With the material and advisory assistance provided by IRI’s Baghdad staff, the IFDD has convened several conferences of substantial importance.
With that endorsement in mind, let’s see what Atiyyah had to say about the draft constitution when he was interviewed by NPR:
ATIYYAH: [The Sunnis] are faced with a constitution on the basis, ‘Take it or leave it.’ It’s very difficult for them to accept that because there are so many items in it which are very difficult for them to stomach, and they will lose credibility even among the moderate Sunnis. So they have the option now to vote against it in a referendum. Could the Arab Sunni muster two-thirds majority in three provinces, the Sunni provinces, veto the constitution and dissolve the parliament and bring a new election? I doubt that. Most of the Sunni boycotted the election. They didn’t just throw their names in the electoral list. So it is for them only one week left to register their names. Then you have to mobilize them and to get them to the polling boxes. At the time when al-Zarqawi and the extremists and the jihadists threatened them by killing them if they go to the vote or the referendum, and so they will find themselves between the fire and the blue sea, and this will play into the hands of the extremists.