- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Obama to Republicans: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time’
- U.S. chemical sites vulnerable despite millions spent on security: Congress
- Driverless cars to hit the British streets by 2015
- GOP presses to scrap IRS commissioner position — but put in panel
- New bill would make sure women in military can get free birth control
- Trafficking bust reveals worries over missing kids; minors as young as 11 found
- Catholic League slams Obama: ‘Do Christian lives mean so little to you?’
- National laboratory cancels ‘Southern Accent Reduction’ classes after outcry
- U.S. woman with Ebola is stable, improving, son says
Political activism emerges en masse
Question of the Day
BAGHDAD — Outside the heavy gates of the Iraqi Hunting Club in the posh suburb of Mansour, a burly guard blocked the way to the offices of the Iraqi National Congress at the heart of Baghdad’s vibrant new Democracy district.
The well-appointed offices behind him testify to the standing in Iraqi politics of the INC and its Pentagon-backed leader, Ahmed Chalabi.
But a few yards away other, humbler political parties have also set up stall, evidence of Iraq’s initial burst of political activism since the downfall of Saddam Hussein.
Around the corner is the office of a Shi’ite group, the Society of Honorable Scholars of Najaf. The Iraqi National Accord Movement, the Al-Wafaq Islamic Movement and the Royal Democratic Alliance all can be found nearby.
They are among a rash of political parties that has erupted in recent months as Iraqis revel in the style, if not the substance, of political freedom.
Few Iraqi parties have published manifestos. Indeed, many are without offices, or in the case of those that do, furniture to put in them. Most have simply marked out their ideological territory with banners.
Many of the new political outfits are stillborn and disappear, like the Free Officers’ and Civilians’ Movement set up by a former Iraqi officer in exile.
The impermanence of many parties makes it difficult to conduct an accurate survey of their number. But current estimates suggest that in the three months since the ousting of the Ba’athist regime almost 70 political outfits have emerged.
Among the bizarre beneficiaries is the newly re-established Communist Party.
“All the political forces are coming out now,” said Latif Al-Saadi, one of the founding members of the party, long outlawed under Saddam. “All our lives we lived without democracy but now there are many parties, from us communists to the Islamists who want to install Shariah law.”
The Islamic Dawa party is one such group. Its banner, strung out at its offices in the former Culture Ministry’s youth club, reads: “The will of Allah rules.”
“We hope to have a Shariah law,” said a spokesman who declined to be named yesterday, admitting that such a move would see Iraq’s recent political flowering wither.
“There won’t be any political parties when we have Shariah,” he said. “It’s not that Islam is against democracy, it’s just that it is different here than in the West.”
It is not only the political parties that are taking off. There are now about 150 newspapers, many with ties to specific political or religious groups, in the Iraqi capital.
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- National laboratory cancels 'Southern Accent Reduction' classes after outcry
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world