Editor’s note: Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin is an online, subscription intelligence news service from the creator of WorldNetDaily.com – a journalist who has been developing sources around the world for the last 25 years.
Those who were hopeful the new Afghan government would be open, pluralistic and tolerant of other religions, extending rights to women and minority religions will be disappointed by the first draft of the constitution.
It is a blueprint for a repressive state, what the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom calls “Taliban-lite.”
While international press reports have focused on the mechanics of the government, the structure of a bicameral legislature with no prime minister, it also states clearly and ominously that “no law can be contrary to the sacred religion of Islam.”
Contrary to reports in major news sources that the constitution makes no mention of shariah, the legal code based on the Quran, Article 130 says that, in the absence of an explicit statute or constitutional limit, the Supreme Court should decide “in accord with Hanafi jurisprudence” – one of the four main Sunni schools of sharia.
Supreme Court justices will be required to have higher education “in law or Islamic jurisprudence” and, like the president and Cabinet members, must take an oath to “support justice and righteousness in accord with the provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.”
The draft outlaws any political party “contrary to the principles of the sacred religion of Islam.”
The new constitution says men are still allowed to have four wives.
The Afghan model is not promising for the new Iraqi government. Last week, President Bush called home for consultation his chief Iraqi administrator, Paul Bremer, and told him to speed up Iraqization. Iraq is well behind Afghanistan in drafting a constitution – a process that took two years in Kabul.
Iraq has other problems. There is no Hamid Karzai. No leader has emerged who can bring together even a modest coalition of the diverse groups within the stratified nation held together for a generation by the brute force of Saddam Hussein.
So slow is the progress in Iraq, in fact, there is talk in Washington about replacing Bremer.
Iraqis have been unable to agree even on how to choose delegates to draft a constitution despite a Dec. 15 deadline to submit a timetable to the U.N. Security Council. As insurgents step up attacks on coalition forces, pressure is mounting to find some way to speed the transfer of power to the Iraqis.
That suits many Iraqi leaders just fine. Council member Ahmed Chalabi has been insisting for months that the Americans hand over power quickly and give the Iraqis an expanded role in fighting the insurgents.
“What is needed now is that Iraqis should take more and more charge of the security situation,” Chalabi told BBC radio Thursday. “There is a vigorous, committed and able and experienced political leadership in Iraq now in the presidency of the Governing Council who can take charge of this situation and produce results very quickly.”
However, Chalabi has close ties to the Pentagon but lacks broad support, even among fellow Shiites, in part because of his wheeler-dealer reputation.
Selling Karzai to the Afghans as a national leader was simpler. A hereditary tribal chief, the urbane, multilingual Karzai enjoyed a reputation for integrity and was a member of Afghanistan’s largest ethnic community, the Pashtuns. The United States preferred a Pashtun leader to win support from an ethnic group that formed the core of the Taliban.
Karzai was acceptable to the country’s second-largest group, the Tajiks, because they were given control of most levers of power, including the army. Karzai has struggled to extend his authority outside the Afghan capital because, though he has Western backing and a presidential title, his rivals have the guns.