Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thinking Outside The Traditional Democratic Model

Iraq is facing an interesting problem that the world has never come across: a need for a new breed of democracy. Now this is just my opinion but hear me out (after all, this whole blog is my opinion). The Kurds in the northern region of Iraq make up about 20% of the total population. The Sunnis make up another 20% in the west. And the Shiites make up about 60% of the population toward the southeast. With oil only in the Kurdish region and the Shiite region, if the country were to break up into their religious factions, the Sunnis would have no access to waterways nor oil--only sand. And with the Sunni countries bordering on the west and the Shiite nation of Iran bordering on the east, no one religious group will be allowed total domination of the government. So this is not simply religion but geography playing a role in Iraq. And here we are stuck in the middle of this mess with our finger in the dike so to speak.
What might need to happen is that a new form of democracy emerges from the ashes of this highly theocratic civil war. This new form of democracy must take into account the importance of faith intertwined with power; something we did not have a problem with when this country was founded. The Iraqis don't even see political parties; they see religious sects and differences of faith. If any one faith dominated the political power scene in Iraq, the other group would use their violent tactics they are displaying now to win back that power. I believe that what needs to happen in the democratic government of Iraq is that each group of people--the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shiites--have an equal number of seats within their government. The people can vote on which representatives they wish to have a seat but no one group will outnumber the other. With this system, or one similar, no group can dominate over another, all voices will be weighed the same and decisions will have to be made for the better of Iraq and not any one group.
A government like this one would ensure a checks-and-balances system stays intact. We have seen to our dismay what can happen when one group controls all branches of government and polarizes politics to where party loyalty is valued over the interests of the majority. A democratic system along these principles is what is needed in Iraq if Iraq is ever going to leave this civil war behind and progress. This war was not conventional and neither will be the rebuilding of it. Precedents have been made thus far and will continue to be made in Iraq's future. And only when taking into account the uniquely different situation Iraq poses to the democratic process will a democracy flourish in that country. The military has served its purpose, for better or worse, and now diplomacy must be given a chance. It is time to end the war and begin the rebuilding.

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