Apr 28, 2014
Ahead of the elections in Iraq scheduled for April 30, a draft law attacking women’s rights has been put before parliament by the reactionary Shiite religious right-wing. Women’s status in Iraq is still probably the most “equal” in the Arab world, based on a long-entrenched tradition dating back to secular reforms passed in 1959. Even the constitution agreed to by the U.S./British-backed post-Saddam, Shia-dominated religious regime, has so far failed to eliminate these rights.
But now women’s rights are under attack. The so-called Jaafari law would lower the age of marriage to 9 years for girls; legalize polygamy and marital rape; ban marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims; prevent wives leaving the home without permission; remove a husband’s obligation of financial support; give custody of children over 2 years to the father, etc. While a husband could divorce his wife for suffering from a skin condition, she would have virtually no right to divorce him.
If the backward religious sects have the possibility of imposing their will today, it is entirely due to the utter destruction of Iraqi society brought about by the U.S./British “war for oil” in 2003. So much for the “civilization” they have brought to Iraq, or indeed to anywhere in the Middle East!