Where, in the Muslim lands, has there ever been that fashionable “inclusiveness”? Right off the bat, no non-Muslims need think they will ever be included in the Muslim polity. An odd advisor or two — Tariq Ali as Foreign Minister under Saddam Hussein — could be Christian, if his presence made for good press outside — but that didn’t change the overall condition of the Christians in Iraq, who knew were dependent on a despot’s calculationsÂ of self-interest for their security, and protection from attacks by Muslims.
Has EgyptÂ ever been “inclusive” with its Copts? What about Pakistan — with the Hindus and Christians — has it ever been “inclusive”?
And what about the Shia? Have they been treated as equal to Sunnis in Pakistan? In Saudi Arabia? In Yemen? In Kuwait? Where has this inclusiveness been found? Possibly in one place — Lebanon — but that is only because of the power, ever -diminishing, of the Christians who once dominated in Lebanon, and because of the distribution of the three top offices, one to a Christian, one to a Sunni, one to a Shia, that was established back in the 1930s, and designed to head off internecine strife. But the Shi’a always felt they came last, and their resentment, especially of their treatment by their fellow Muslims, the Sunnis, helped encourage the demands of Nabih Berri and then, much more dangerously, the formation of Hezbollah, which originally presented itself as purely a force of “resistance” or “The Resistance” against mighty Israel, apparently ever-threatening the Lebanese state.
- Iraq crisis: ISIS
rebelsheadchoppers hunting for wives in Baiji
- John Kerry holds talks in Iraq as cities fall to ISIS – CNN.com
So let’s rephrase Kerry’s advise: try to do things that won’t alienate the Sunnis, by depriving them of the money and political power they think they deserve, or at least give them signs thatÂ they can get such power. But the Sunnis know perfectly well that they lack the numbers, in a democratic system, to win back the power they held for the entire history of modern Iraq, when they kept the Shi’a out of power. Why would Maliki, who has the support of Iran, and is convinced that with 500,000 in the army and the security servies, and 280 tanks and nearly 3,000 other military vehicles, think he can’t hold onto Baghdad, with a population that is now at least 2/3 Shi’a (the Sunnis have been pushed steadily out, some as far away as Amman), and ready to turn on the local Sunnis should they riise up?
“Inclusive” is a word at the same level as, and concolorous with, “diverse” and “vibrant” and “sustainable” in the current American lexicon. It’s pure feelgood. So let Kerry and Obama feel good about what they’ve asked of Maliki. It won’t make a difference. The war between Sunni and Shi’a in Iraq — and elsewhere — will continue. That should make you feel good.
In other news:
His obituaryÂ here.
Robert Spencer on Fouad Ajami’s hagiographical “A Sage in Christendom: A personal tribute to Bernard Lewis,” inÂ Opinion Journal.