Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Top Shiite Cleric Is Said to Favor a Coalition for Iraq

NYT reported Iraq’s most venerated Shiite cleric has tentatively approved an American-backed coalition of Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish parties that aims to isolate extremists, particularly the powerful Shiite militia leader Moktada al-Sadr, Iraqi and Western officials say.

Good for him. He should have been able to control al-Sadr himself, if al-Sadr had truly been doing it for religious reasons, but he was doing it for power, and I applaud what Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has said.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein the cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has been the spiritual custodian of Shiite political dominance in Iraq, corralling the fractious Shiite parties into an alliance to rule the country. But Ayatollah Sistani has grown increasingly distressed as the Shiite-led government has proved incapable of taming the violence and improving public services, Shiite officials say. He now appears to be backing away from his demand that the Shiite bloc play the dominant political role and that it hold together at all costs, Iraqi and Western officials say.

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