al-Rubaie: No Sunni-Shiite Conflict; need for National Reconciliation
In Nasiriyah, Interim Governing Council member Muwaffaq al-Rubaie affirmed that there are no disputes between Shiites and Sunnis. He said that these two branches of Islam had suffered intellectual and political persecution during the former regime, and they are both now standing in a single row, serving Islamic and humane principles and Iraq itself. He added, “We dwell under the tent of Islam, whereby is made concrete cooperation and solidarity among the children of the people and all its religions and political currents, so that we can make it through the current phase that Iraq is experiencing.” He said that there must be rapid movement toward a formula for a basic law, which would safeguard the democratic principle guaranteeing to Iraqis the right to vote, clarifying that all Iraqi citizens have the opportunity to serve their country, and pointing out that the IGC is now studying how to draft a formula and instruments whereby for a special decree on national reconciliation that would establish tolerance for all those who had been led astray, whether civilians or military, and giving all the opportunity to return to the national ranks. (al-Hayat).
This passage suggests a kind of pan-Islamic unity against the ghost of Saddam, as well as an appeal to Sunni Arabs with a Baath background. He seems to say that many of them will be allowed to reenter civil society without suffering from the taint of past membership in the party. He thus was seeking to mollify two major groups of Sunni Arabs, the fundamentalists who felt persecuted by the Baath, and the lower ranks of the former Baathist, who were mainly secular Sunnis.
Al-Rubaie shows himself in this passage willing to draw the line in debaathification rather higher than someone like Ahmad Chalabi, who seems to want all former party members ostracized.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle recently published a smart article on the Iraqi Hizbullah and questions about the future of this formerly violent militia of the Marsh Arabs, which had allied with hard liners in Iran. Its current leader claims to side instead with the secularists in Iran!