Freedom’s Moment: An Arab Democracy

In a brilliant move, the coalition forces turned over control of Iraq two days early. This clearly pre-empted any plans for terrorist attacks on the day of the turnover or before. As of June 28, 2004, Iraq is now a sovereign nation- a historical moment for Iraq and for the Middle East. Any terrorist acts committed against coalition forces will be against protecting forces of the sovereign nation of Iraq and thus more obviously against the very people of Iraq. The road to freedom is now an Iraqi road and will begin with a new national ownership. There is no better way to disarm the militant Islamists. There is no greater inoculation against terrorism and against the scourge of oppressive theocratic Islamism than stepping up the timetable and perhaps seeing the following this week: 1. Bringing Saddam Hussein back to an Iraqi judge of a sovereign Iraq to be indicted for crimes against the Iraqi nation, the Iraqi people, and crimes against humanity as Saddam heads in due process toward the death penalty. His public trial in Arabic will speak volumes toward changing the climate of dictatorship in the Middle East. 2. President Bush may now speak this week to NATO about the new era in the Middle East of a free and sovereign Iraqi people at the NATO meeting held in Turkey, the only Islamic nation member of NATO. What a grand political move to have what is now a sovereign Iraqi nation ask NATO directly for troop assistance and other cooperation in the near future? 3. Paul Bremer will leave and Prime Minister Iyad Allawi will begin the process of interacting and bonding with the anti-American Middle eastern media and its viewers and no longer do so through easily marginalized American forces. Al Jazeera and Co. will have to deal with Allawi and the Iraqi government as one of them. 4. America sets soon to celebrate its Independence day and we, as Americans will remember our history of the sacrifices our forefathers made in establishing a free nation based on liberty and with equality for all. It is the collective memory of this spirit and the rough road thereafter that will put the rocky road of Iraqi sovereignty and independence in perspective. 5. Prime Minister Allawi and his cabinet will now have to begin to set forth and articulate their own vision for a free Iraq, a united Iraq, and an Iraq that honors the equality of all citizens while avoiding theocracy. 6. A sovereign Iraqi government of majority Arabs and Muslims can now credibly articulate a believable plan for ridding their nation of terror networks like al-Qaida and their ilk. Freedom-minded Iraqi leaders can now open a steady daily discourse from Muslims directed toward Muslims on the need to marginalize militant Islamists and the terrorists. As they seek to stabilize their own nation with free markets, free media, and free assembly, they will have to effectively and swiftly eliminate those who target innocents and exploit the Islamic religion. This will also require the beginning of a new articulation of a supporting moderate Islamic theology. 7. Syria and Iran will have to scurry to develop a discourse with an Iraq that is sure to be painful for those who have survived on the mutual thuggery of Middle Eastern governments. How will they interact with a nation that carries standards of freedom and justice that only highlight their own oppression of the Syrian and Iranian people? How will the Baathist Syrian government publicly deal with the impending public trial in Arabic of a fellow Baathist thug, Saddam Hussein? 8. Which heads of state of Arabic or Muslim nations will give Prime Minister Allawi a congratulatory phone call this week? A major moment in history in the Middle East has arrived early and we pray will be a major step toward peace, freedom, and liberty in the region. This column originally appeared in the Arizona Republic at this link.

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