From the Revd Larry Wright
Sir, - It is salutary to remind ourselves that Iraq is a
democracy. As part of an NGO delegation, I spent ten days there in
April monitoring the General Election. It was one of the few
delegations who ventured beyond the Green Zone.
At most polling stations, we met officials and voters - men and
women - who were proud to be part of a democratic process; and, of
those eligible to vote, the turnout was 60 per cent. These were the
first elections since the coalition's withdrawal, organised
entirely by the Iraqi High Electoral Commission.
At meetings, senior political and religious leaders were
unanimous that democracy was the one legacy of international
intervention which they should embrace. The current incursion by
extremist forces from Syria is a political and humanitarian tragedy
threatening their still-fragile democracy, and a further
humiliation to Western governments (the United States and the UK in
particular), who appear to have no credible strategy for dealing
with the rise and rise of militant jihadists in the region.
After invading, occupying, and restructuring the political
institutions of Iraq, the least we could do is see the process
through to its optimal conclusion: a functioning, viable,
democratic state. Its viability is now under threat, and we must
work and pray to rescue what remains of the democratic legacy,
bought at so high a cost.
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From Canon John Goodchild
Sir, - Your leader comment on the rise of ISIS (20 June)
suggests we intervene to help the suffering in Iraq and Syria. We
cannot, however, sort out Muslims' problems for them. If we support
one sect, it gives others a pretext for attacking them.
Muslims may come to their senses and stop killing each other
more quickly if Western powers keep clear. Muslims could not have
stopped Protestants and Catholics killing each other in the 16th
and 17th centuries. Using violence will only encourage more
violence. We should use our resources just for rescuing and
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