Peter Ferrara

In 2000, at the dawn of the 21st Century, under Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party, Iraq was suffering under the worst of the egregious misconceptions of the 20th Century. Saddam was basically a 1930s style Fascist dictator in the mold of Hitler and Mussolini, or Tojo in Japan. His Baath Party represented all of the economic fallacies and chaos of 20th Century Third World Socialism.

This was imposed on top of a society which, despite centuries of cultural vibrancy, was still mired in sectarian hatreds and even violence dating back to medieval times. Western liberal concepts such as democracy, the rule of law, and freedom of speech, religion and the press, were sometimes respected rhetorically, but were not rooted in the culture.

When the United States removed Saddam and the Baath Party by force, the American regency was happy to just find some nationals that were at least willing to go through the motions of democracy. There was no indigenous George Washington available. In current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri-al-Maliki, the country stumbled upon an analogue to America’s retrogressive President John Adams (who became more committed to his own power than to western liberal freedom and democracy, creating an early Constitutional crisis even in the beginning years of the United States).

But in a multi-candidate field for Prime Minister in elections to be held in April, an Iraqi Thomas Jefferson may be on the horizon in the person of businessman Fadhel Al Dabbas. As Chairman of Dabbas International Group, an international trading company, Dabbas has made a highly successful career steeped in modern western culture and economics. His business ventures include The United Bank for Investment in Baghdad, where he has personally participated in world finance. His far flung business network, encompassing 13 separate businesses owned and operated by his holding company, has provided him with modern executive experience valuable for the extensive management duties of Prime Minister.

Dabbas is campaigning on a detailed Political Program circulated in the name of the The Iraq Coalition. While Maliki has planted himself as a partisan of the Shiite majority, further fueling centuries old sectarian strife with Sunni rivals, The Iraq Coalition promoted by Dabbas is centered on a secular, non-sectarian platform that would separate religion from state, and the political authority from the religious authority, promising equal rights for all regardless of religious, ethnic or political affiliations. Indeed, the platform promotes religious freedom, by promising to get politics out of religion, an early American concept.

Peter Ferrara

Peter Ferrara is a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis and a Senior Fellow at the Heartland Institute.