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Q: Democracy in Iraq ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Democracy in Iraq
Category: Reference, Education and News > Current Events
Asked by: tikirat-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 02 Jul 2005 15:37 PDT
Expires: 01 Aug 2005 15:37 PDT
Question ID: 539436
Unfortunately I have not kept up on the democratization process in
Iraq and this is primarily because I do not fully understand the
democratization process.  I have tried looking up the democratization
process online and have repeatedly come across the words "transition"
and "consolidation".  What I would like to know is:

What is the definition of transition?
What is the definition of consolidation?
But more specifically I would like to know how a state like Iraq will
go through the democratization process. I know that the process of
transition and consolidation are very important.  What I would like to
know is the following:

How do democracies transition?
How do democracies consolidate?

I really would like to understand this process and once I get my
answers I'll be able look at a state like Iraq or any other state for
that matter that is going through this process and I'll actually know
what is going on.
Subject: Re: Democracy in Iraq
Answered By: richard-ga on 02 Jul 2005 20:50 PDT
Hello and thank you for your question.

The transition that you have seen described in your research is the
transition from occupation by the Coalition Provisional Authority to
an Interim Government, to a Permanent Government to be implemented
later this year.

Per the US State Department's June 2004 Fact Sheet, 
"On June 28, 2004, full sovereignty was transferred to a new Iraqi
interim government. The Coalition Provisional Authority, led by
Ambassador Paul Bremer, ceased to exist. The Iraqi Government is now
running the day-to-day operations of its country."
Fact Sheet, Bureau of Public Affairs
Iraq's Transition to Self-Government 

Currently Iraq is operating under an interim constitution, adopted March 8, 2004.
Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period

Here is what's supposed to happen next:
The first draft of the permanent constitution is due August 15, after
which it will be debated in the National Assembly before being
submitted to a national referendum on October 15. If the constitution
is approved, elections for a permanent National Assembly will be held
on December 15.

Howver, although August 15 is only 6 weeks away, there are conflicting
reports as to what progress is being made in that direction.  One
source says the Constitution is 80% complete; another implies that the
work has not yet started:

"Humam Hammodi, Chairman of the constitution drafting committee told
Al-Sabah that the branch teams of the committee have succeeded so far
in completing 80% of the constitution's draft.
Hammodi added that his colleagues at the committee branch-teams are
willing to fulfill the task by the previously set deadline of August
15th 2005.
"The final draft will come out with an Iraqi spirit and there are
actually little differences to debate" said Hammodi."

"In an interview with Al-Sharqiyah television on June 21, Deputy
Chairman Fu?ad Ma?sum said the Iraqi Constitution Drafting Committee
is waiting for 15 Sunni members and 10 Sunni advisors to join in order
to begin work.

So that's where the transition currently stands.

"Consolidation" is a different issue.  The goal of consolidation is
for there to be a central government that will somehow govern the
entire country.  This will require an integration of the Kurdish
semi-autonomous regions into the national government and, most
importantly, meaningful participation and allegiance to the future
constituion by Shiite and Sunni areas.

Consolidation Challenges for Iraq
--Insurgencies must be brought under control 
--Security and order must be ensured 
--Kurdish independence issue must be faced 
--Ensuring legitimacy for the 20% Sunni population will be a challenge 
--Building a governing coalition will be difficult 
--Approving the constitution (October) will be difficult 
--Full term elections scheduled for December 
--After election, can secular rule be preserved? Some radical Shiite
leaders (e.g. Moktada al-Sadr) might call for more religious rule.

As I'm sure you've seen in your research, there is a lot being said
about these issues.  I've kept this answer somewhat short in order to
highlight the main issues relating to the transition and consolidation
questions.  If you would like to have more information about a given
aspect, let me know via a request for clarification. I would apreciate
it if you would hold off on rating my answer until I have a chance to

Search terms used:
iraq democratization
iraq constitution consolidation
iraq consolidation sistani

Thanks again for letting us help.

Google Answers Researcher

Request for Answer Clarification by tikirat-ga on 03 Jul 2005 00:15 PDT
What I mean by :

How do democracies transition?
How do democracies consolidate?

is what steps does a state have to take in order for there to be a
successful transition/consolidation?

Clarification of Answer by richard-ga on 03 Jul 2005 07:54 PDT
Hello again

I think the only guidance there is for what steps a state has to take
in order for there to be a successful transition/consolidation will be
by historical precedent.  The successful models are Germany and Japan
after World War II, although in Germany's case consolidation was not
achieved until the fall of the Wall between east and west.  Other
examples, maybe more similar to the Iraq situation, are not available
because consolidation failed - - for example Czechoslovakia and

I could tell you more about Germany and Japan.  Would that be helpful?


Request for Answer Clarification by tikirat-ga on 03 Jul 2005 11:43 PDT
Yes, that would be very helpful. Thank you.

Clarification of Answer by richard-ga on 03 Jul 2005 14:43 PDT
Here is the information about Japan and Germany that you requested. 
I've only printed brief excerpts from a number of very interesting
articles.  If you will read them in full, you will see how Japan and
Germany were able to make the transition to  peaceful and consolidated
democratic government.  You'll also find little reason to think that
the US will see any similar success in Iraq.

Remaking History:
Bush's comparison of Iraq with postwar Japan ignores the facts
"Here was a populace socialized to think in terms of death before
dishonor ? an adversary whose greatest wartime innovation (after the
preemptive strike on Pearl Harbor) was the terrifying kamikaze suicide
attack. Yet in the wake of defeat, and in the midst of widespread
misery, not a single serious incident of violence against the
occupying forces was reported.
"What is more, six months after Japan's surrender in mid-August 1945,
Gen. Douglas MacArthur presided over an efficient military government
in Tokyo that soon stabilized at between 5,000 and 5,500 military and
civilian personnel devoted to "civil affairs." Esprit was high.
Would-be American reformers were looking forward to being joined by
their families. That doesn't sound much like Iraq today.
"Half a year into the occupation of Japan, policies aimed at achieving
"demilitarization and democratization" were well underway. A few weeks
after MacArthur's arrival in Tokyo, the U.S. released its official
"post-surrender" policy. In the seventh week of the occupation, the
Japanese government was told, in lengthy detail, precisely what
repressive laws and institutions to abolish.
"One week later, on Oct. 11, MacArthur issued a famous statement
calling for "liberalization of the constitution" and rapid
implementation of democratization in five fundamental areas ?
emancipation of women, unionization of labor, liberalization of
education, establishment of a judicial system that protected people's
rights and democratization of economic institutions. Basic reforms
were soon in place that enlisted the energies, expertise and support
not only of American and Japanese officials but of a broad spectrum of
ordinary Japanese as well."

The following article provides interesting details of the four-year
occupation of Germany, and the postponement of national elections in
Germany until it was clear that Naziism had been extinguished.
Condi Rice Is Wrong About Germany's Werewolves, But Right About Iraq
"In the first year or two, none of the occupying powers was eager to
restore a German democracy and certainly none had a desire to put "a
German face" on the occupation. Before democratization could take
place, the Allies wanted to be sure that Nazism had been definitively
crushed and that the German people in general understood that this was
the case. Given that the German army fought to the bitter end and that
the German anti-Nazi resistance was small, late and unsuccessful, the
Allies did not romanticize German anti-fascism. Politicians such as
Konrad Adenauer, Kurt Schumacher and Theodor Heuss prominent in the
Weimar era who were not implicated in the Nazi regime emerged first in
local elections. But the first national election did not take place
until 1949, over four years after the end of the war."

This article, written even before the Iraq resistance emerged,
compares the Iraq challenge to the failed pacification of Germany
after World War I.
The Two Essential Steps Needed to Turn Iraq into a Peace-Loving Country
"The United States and the coalition against Saddam Hussein must
commit to rebuilding Iraq's social, economic and political
infrastructure, so that New Iraq does not have German-like lingering
resentments or weaknesses to exploit. This means addressing Iraq's
internal tensions and creating meaningful participatory political
systems. But unless the region is stable, New Iraq will still not be
secure, so we must commit to active and multilateral engagement in the
region. This will not be easy....
But the alternative -- conquest followed by disengagement -- risks the
catastrophe of repeating the mistakes that led to World War II."

Does Iraq 2004 Resemble Germany 1946?
"Historians ridicule such Germany-Iraq comparisons as absurd. They see
them as either false (there is not a single documented case of an
American soldier being murdered by bitter end SS men after Germany's
capitulation) or invalid because political and social conditions in
Germany fifty-five years ago and Iraq today vary greatly (Germany, to
give just one example, was an ethnically homogeneous country, Iraq is
deeply divided by religion and ethnicity among Sunnis, Kurds, and
Shiites). Iraq lacks both democratic traditions and political leaders
who remained in the country during Saddam's rule and yet have some
experience with democracy. Postwar Germany had at its disposal
democratic traditions going back to 1848."

Japan and Germany:
Parallels to Iraq
"First, Germany was utterly and totally destroyed in the war. All
Germans, even Nazis, understood by April 1945 that Hitler had involved
their country in a horrible mistake.
Second, the Japanese were humiliated. The Emperor was forced to be
human in front of a foreigner. Japan had suffered twice the tremendous
superior technology of a foreigner.
Iraq, and the Arab/Islamic world, have not been put in this kind of position."

Few Parallels with Germany and Japan
"'American GIs were so safe in Japan that they could move their
families there and Gen. Douglas MacArthur lived in Tokyo with his wife
and son. ''I can't imagine this happening in Iraq,'' Dower said.
"In Germany, also, the Americans met cooperation, not violence, said
Harvard's German history professor Charles Maier. Maier and Dower say
U.S. forces in Germany and Japan met no armed resistance because their
populations felt legitimately defeated and their leaders had
surrendered unconditionally.
"'Not all former Nazis became democrats overnight, to say the least,
but they realized how totally Germany had been defeated and that there
was no point in a resistance campaign,'' Maier said. ``Iraq was
defeated too easily for the same consciousness to pervade.'' In Japan,
Emperor Hirohito even ordered his subjects to cooperate with the
occupiers -- a far cry from the situation today in Iraq...."
"There are other major differences, experts say: 

* In Iraq, U.S. troops face a nation with a history of conflicts among
Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Kurds and Turkomans, unlike the largely
homogenous Germany and Japan.

* Iraq's neighbors pose problems for U.S. rebuilding efforts, with
Syria and Iran accused of failing to secure their borders against
infiltrators. By comparison, U.S. troops in Germany and Japan enjoyed
the cooperation of neighboring nations that had been invaded by the
defeated armies.

* Perhaps more importantly, Iraq lacks the democratic experience of
pre-war Germany and Japan, making it harder to implement a U.S.-led
democratization process, historians say. German history professor
David Hamlin of Brown University added, ``German politicians could
look back on their own past for a German model of democracy in a way
that Iraqis cannot.''

* Unlike World War II, when the world applauded the U.S. war effort,
the U.N. Security Council refused to endorse the preemptive U.S.
strike on Iraq and protesters around the world denounced it as illegal
and immoral.

* Finally, the U.S. rebuilding policy in occupied Iraq is quite
different from the one promoted in Germany and Japan, the historians
added. While the Bush administration has been inviting foreign
companies to help rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, the U.S. occupation
of Germany and Japan preferred to issue reconstruction contracts to
national companies."

Iraq: Losing the American Way
"The Bush administration and neoconservative writers have repeatedly
cited the U.S. successes in West Germany and Japan, but they have been
notably silent about the large numbers of failures or disappointments
elsewhere, particularly in the Caribbean basin and Central America.
"If any honest discussion about the prospects for democratization in
Iraq and other countries of the Middle East had included any analysis
of a few of these three dozen cases, the discussion would have ended
with a general consensus that the prospects were surely bleak."

So, those are the steps where transition and consolidation was carried
out successfully--in part I would say because the cultural norms of
Japan and Germany were able to accomodate the transition.

Thanks again for leading me to these interesting analyses.


Request for Answer Clarification by tikirat-ga on 14 Jul 2005 01:53 PDT
I have looked at everything that you gave me and I still don't
understand. Let's forget about discussing democratic countries, this
only confuses me. What I am seeking is a definition of a democratic
transition, I would like to know the steps to a democratic transition.
I would like to know the actors involved and the roles that they play.
I would like to know what makes a successful transition.

Listing the steps involved will help me understand better, for example:

Step 1:
Step 2:
Step 3: 

Clarification of Answer by richard-ga on 15 Jul 2005 13:35 PDT
Hello again:
To keep me from starting down the wrong road, I need to understand what you mean by
"Let's forget about discussing democratic countries.... I would like
to know the steps to a democratic transition."

I can tell you what the American government and the current rulers of
Iraq have laid down as their steps to a democratic transition.  Or I
could take another country (admitting that it does not have much in
common with Iraq) and talk about it.

I don't think there is any hypothetical set of steps that will be of
any value.  So I think I have to talk about an actual country that has
encountered or is currently facing such a transition.  Maybe Lebanon?

Please let me know.

There are no comments at this time.

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