Iraqis democratically elect a Fundamentalist Islamic Gov. What now?

Assume the USA “allow” such a situation to become possible, would a goverment advocating fewer ties ( read less oil / co-operation ) with the west - be tolerated by the US?

Or will the US keep any free democratic elections strictly beneficial to their investment ( and of course in line with the war on terror yada-yada ) ?

Note: i dont know if “Fundamentalist Islamic” is the correct phrase to use, but you get my drift. Apologies if its inaccurate.

This point has arisen before. Hypothetically:

A Shia cleric declares his candidacy, advocating theocratic government, withdrawal of US troops and perhaps even renationalisisation of the oil infrastructure. He becomes popular.

Donald Rumsfeld has stated “That’s never going to happen”. So, presumably, the US bars this cleric’s candidacy.

Now, quite apart from the issue of whether this is really a “free” election any more, what happens when th esupporters of said cleric protest this decision in public? Are the protesters to be fired on in a Soviet-style clampdown? Does the US become entangled in a Middle Eastern Northern Ireland wherein the initially welcomed liberators quickly become the occupying enemy?

The lessons of 1970’s Iran must be learned, and learned quickly.

One legitimate-ish way to oppose theocracy more intelligently than in the way SentientMeat fears might be to write the constitution first, in a forum with enough legitmacy but before general elections, while everyone in Iraqi politics is still on their best behaviour. Things like basic human rights, freedom of expression, an independant secular judiciary could then be locked in by an onerous constitutional amendment process (example: US constitution) and/or by the constitution forbidding changes in certain parts of itself (example: German constitution).

Phew, well, any kind of democracy in Iraq would, I suggest, represent a genuine achievement in the region ts. If a fully-fledged constitutional democracy comes about, I for one would be highly impressed.

Just remember that the more onerous one made it to amend such a constitution, the more appealing it might be for theocracists to take control by force.

(And then what? Support a counter-revolution by a secular military leader sympathetic to the US? That would be just delicious.)

Clerics can dominate thru public opinion control… as advisors to any government in power… as an opposition party. (They wont be barred from participating in democracy I suppose… that would be too draconian.)

Constitutions can be amended if their is political will power… if the constitution is respected at all. Anything the US touches can be easily dismissed later on as politically charged and corrupt by future Iraqi powerful.

Okay, first off, it’s not going to happen. Even if you assume that most Shiites want such a government, they don’t have enough people to impose it. Sunnis and Kurds will vote almost unanomously against a Shiite cleric. That means Shiites would have to support a cleric by a margin of about 90% to win just a slim majority. Very unlikely. A few polls taken of Shiites have found not much enthusiasm for a religious government anyway.

But let’s say it did happen. First, any government would be constrained by the constitution, which would already be approved by the citizens themselves. WOmen’s rights would be guaranteed already. The clerics would have no power to change that. Sunnis and Kurds and Christiains would have freedom of religion. Basic rights that are guaranteed under the constitution would not be abrogated. So already the clerics are restrained.

And then there is the fact they have to stand for reelection. Historically, religious figures don’t do so well when people get to vote on them. The huge losses religious forces suffered in Iran when free elections were held is a recent example. The Iraqis could conceivably vote in a religious government the first time, but it would probably be useless and get voted out the next time around.

Right, about as likely as the U.S. and the U.K. allowing the Nazis to democratically reclaim Western Germany right after WWII, saying “Oh, Sorry Mr. Himmler. We were going to prosecute you, but since you still have a following. We’ll let you control Germany.”

Actually, that’s a bad example, most Iraqi fundamentalist have much more in common with the Iranian theocracy than with the former regime.

O.K. That’s a bad example. A better example would be if the Western Germans had elected Zukov, the Soviet General, ruler of West Germany after WW II. That’s a better analogy, because, like Zhukov, the Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq are in close fellowship with and discipline under the tyrants who rule Iran.

I’m pretty sure the U.S. would invalidate the results.

No they wouldn’t. We would just make sure that they didn’t abrogate the Constitution and make sure they stood for reelection. That would take care of the problem within one election cycle.

One thing the US will not allow is one man, one vote, one time, such as what happened in Palestine and almost happened in Algeria. Once the Iraqi citizens approve a constitution, future Iraqi governments are bound by it and limited by it.

Such a thing has happened in the past. In 1991 the Islamic Salvation Front gained surprising success in elections in Algeria while running on a vague platform that promised to dissolve the legislative assembly and institute a theocracy based on shari’a law.

The army stepped in, invalidated the elections, and banned the FIS as a legitimate party. The country has been in a state of low-level civil war ever since, as far as I can tell.

I’ll go with tschild and hope like Hades that some sort of constitution can be put in place to prevent such a thing. Otherwise, it would be the privilege (though not necessarily the brightest thing) of the Iraqi people to elect whomever they wish.

Cynical answer: By the time elections are held, everybody (from the Iraqi public to the American people) will be clamoring for our exit, so as long as the Islamic government isn’t too ridiculously over-the-top, or an obvious puppet of Iran, or whatever, Mr. Bremer & Company will sadly shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, it’s what they want,” and leave the nation to fester for a few years, thereby providing a ripe target for the next time the U.S. economy goes south and it becomes necessary to distract American voters with another sham invasion.