Monday, March 21, 2005

Student Strike in Basra

Ali at Free Iraqi writes about a surprising development in the Iraqi city of Basra in the Shiite south:
"Thousands of students in Basra University demonstrated Yesterday against 'terrorism'. Al Basra University announced a general strike until the demands of the students are met. From Al Qabas Kuwaiti newspaper (Arabic). The rally was not against the terrorism carried by the Salafi/Jihadists but against the terrorist activities of the religious parties in Basra and mainly the Sadirsts.

The Sadirists and representatives of some radical religious parties have appointed themselves as guardians on the people of Basra and many other southern governorates with She'at majority especially after their lists got the majority of the votes there in both local elections and national ones. Their armed followers appointed themselves as guards in all colleges, hospitals and government institute watching everyone and making sure no one violates their Shre'a. They filled these places with their leaders' pictures and their symbols, challenging anyone who objects to their actions saying that they represent the Marjiyia in Najaf and that they have the support of Sistani."
This peaceful rejection of local theocratic rule is a very positive sign, according to Ali, and an indication of political growth in the country. The chains of Saddam's regime were broken by the US-led invasion, but the electoral ascendance of the Shiite religous parties is troubling. The fact that the students are no longer accepting religious domination indicates that people are realizing that trading the old chains for new ones is no bargain.

Past events have shown that Ali has a far better grasp of what is going on in Iraq and the significance of it than we can get on our network news reports or off the newswires.

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