NYT: Disgusted by sectarian violence, Iraqi youth shift towards secularism

Abe Greenwald is exultant and supplies an apt quote from Martin Amis as an epitaph for the piece. It’s tremendous news but made me think of the Iranian mullahcracy vis-a-vis the Iranian population: Just because the people have soured on government by vicious, thieving fundamentalists doesn’t mean they won’t have a government by vicious, thieving fundamentalists. Iran’s right next door to speed the transition along with money and, ahem, goodwill, and Sadr’s hitting the books to emulate Khomeini. Step one — and again, it’s tremendous news — is Iraqis recoiling from rule by jihadists; step two is harnessing their disgust into some secularist outlet that’s willing to crack the heads of those jihadists when the time comes. That’s what the Iraqi Army and police are for, theoretically. Will they hold?

Enjoy this, though, or at least as much as one can any necessary, salutary political development that took so much violence to be born. You want hope in Iraq, you got it:

After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach…

The shift in Iraq runs counter to trends of rising religious practice among young people across much of the Middle East, where religion has replaced nationalism as a unifying ideology…

Such patterns, if lasting, could lead to a weakening of the political power of religious leaders in Iraq. In a nod to those changing tastes, political parties are dropping overt references to religion.

I could have quoted another 15 paragraphs, including the one about the woman who used to love Osama but now takes a more nuanced view after having been forced by fundies to wear the hijab, but I hate excerpting important articles like this since it tempts you not to read the whole thing. So read the whole thing, paying special attention to what voting along sectarian lines really means (see also Iraqpundit about that) and the mercenary motivations held by so many of the “pious.” An improving Iraqi economy will help solve that problem too by raising the cost of jihadi recruiting for Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the rest of the scum who are bankrolling it.

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John Stossel 12:01 AM on June 09, 2023