There is concern, much consternation and some hyperventilation about the prospects of an Islamic Republic in Iraq. The throne of the new theocracy, some pundits worry, will not be carried on the shoulders of the revolutionary masses. “Beware,” their tremulous voices intone, “it will be crafted in the chambers of Iraq's emerging democratic process.” The quiet giant of a Shiite majority led by reclusive Grand Ayatollahs has stirred in Iraq and the world remembers what happened the last time that happened in Iran.
Most of these fears are unfounded. Not only because the same theology does not necessarily create the same polity — as Dilip Hiro comparing the Wahabism of Qatar and Saudi Arabia has shown in his recent editorial in New York Times. History will not repeat itself because we are not dealing with the same theology in Iraq and Iran. Shiites of Iraq will not push for an Islamic Republic because the political philosophy of the Qum is anathema to that of Najaf.
The prestigious seminary of Najaf was never impressed by the clever alchemy of Ayatollah Khomeini that transformed an obscure legal provision for the guardianship of the insane and the infirm into “The Mandate of the Jurist” and the basis for an Islamic state. Khomeini's “aberration” was condemned by the provost of the Najaf theological and legal school of the time, the Grand Ayatollah Al-Khouie.