November 30, 2003

NYT Headline Watch Check out

NYT Headline Watch

Check out this (hugely misleading) beaut. Doubtless, innovative bridging proposals in terms of the timing/method of the elections need to be broached with Sistani.

But is Washington 'cringing' because of Shi'a aspirations for democracy?

On another note, it's good to see Noah Feldman, who is well informed on these issues, say:

"Bridging the gap between Islamic values and Western views of human rights will not be easy, said Noah Feldman, an assistant professor at New York University and expert on Islamic law who is advising Iraq on the drafting process. But Mr. Feldman said he believed the clerics would not demand an Iranian-style theocracy.

"It's going to be tricky and it's delicate, but it's going to be solvable, because in the end the Shia clerics are open to a state that's a democratic state but is also respectful of Islam," Mr. Feldman said. "No one around Sistani is saying, `Rule of the clerics.' "

That said, I've heard some quite negative appraisals from Syrian sources lately who believe it is almost inevitable that Iraq will turn out to be, if not a full-blown Iranian-style theocracy, significantly more distinguished by the trappings of an Islamic state than that of a secular Western-style democracy. I'll have more on those conversations soon. Still, even given these pessimistic appraisals, I still think Feldman has got it about right. Cautious optimism I guess.

Posted by Gregory at November 30, 2003 11:19 AM
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