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Introduction

  • Denis Dragovic
Chapter
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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Compromise after Conflict book series (PSCAC)

Abstract

Shortly after arriving in Iraq in May 2003, Paul Bremer, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, began preparations for the drafting of an Iraqi constitution. The initial plan was for Iraqi and US leaders to select the writers of the constitution, for a constitution to be drafted and sovereignty handed over. But in June of 2003 a cleric residing far from the centres of authority in Baghdad and Washington gave a religious opinion on the matter. The fatwa stated that any drafting would have to be undertaken by Iraqi representatives efollowing a general election.1 Initially this view was ‘underestimated by the Bush administration’, then it became apparent that the ‘Americans were in denial’, said one Iraqi member of the Governing Council.2 For months Bremer refused to recognize the influence of the religious leader. Ayatollah Sistani, on post-conflict statebuilding efforts. Instead, the Americans thought they could work around the fatwa, recruit other religious figures to counter Sistani, appeal to reason and explain the difficulties of organizing an election in such a short period of time, and eventually even offer a comprise by suggesting partial elections. This was not enough. ‘It was very difficult, if not impossible, to disregard the fatwa of Ayatollah Sistani,’ explained Yass Khudier, an Iraqi member of the commission tasked by the Governing Council to find a solution.3

Keywords

Religious Institution Bush Administration Governing Council Religious Opinion Islamic Jurisprudence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    For an English translation of the fatwa see Andrew Arato, “Sistani v. Bush: Constitutional Politics in Iraq,” Constellations 11, no. 2 (2004): 174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rajiv Chandrasekaran, “How Cleric Trumped U.S. Plan for Iraq,” Washington Post, 26 November 2003.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Kofi Annan, “In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All,” (United Nations General Assembly, 2005), 31.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Cf. Knox Thames, “Attaining Sustainable Security Through Civic Space for Religious Actors,” Small Wars Journal (2012). See also,Google Scholar
  5. Matthew Yandura, “Voices of Moderate Islam,” IO Journal 3, no. 1 (2011).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ravitzky traces the scriptural basis of anti-Zionism to “the primeval myth of the children of Ephraim, who went up from Egypt prematurely, ‘transgressed the End and the oath’, and fell by the sword.” It is also rooted in the oaths that the Jewish people were made to swear—according to the Midrash and the Talmud—that ‘they not force the End’. Aviezer Ravitzky, Messianism, Zionism, and Jewish Religious Radicalism (Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press, 1996). 22. As for the association of Satan to the establishment of the Jewish state, this view was most strongly supported by Rabbi Teitelbaum. See ibid., 45.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Francis Fukuyama, State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century (Cornell University Press, 2004). 156.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Nicola Nixon et al., “The Ties That Bind: Social Capital in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” in National Human Development Report2009, ed. Armin Sirco (Sarajevo: United Nations Development Programme, 2009).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Thames, “Attaining Sustainable Security Through Civic Space for Religious Actors”. See also Thomas F. Farr, “America’s International Religious Freedom Policy,” in Rethinking Religion and World Affairs, ed. Timothy Samuel Shah, Alfred Stepan and Monica Duffy Toft (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    David Beetham, The Legitimation of Power, Issues in Political Theory (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Scott Thomas, The Global Resurgence of Religion and the Transformation of International Relations: The Struggle for the Soul of the Twenty-First Century, ed. Yosef Lapid and Friedrich Kratochwil, Culture and Religion in International Relations (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). 105.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Denis Dragovic 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denis Dragovic
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MelbourneAustralia

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