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30 August 2005


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Sistani's announcement comes as no surprise as he is known for being a pragmatist and for his dislike of the Iranian model. He is not seeking to be the Iraqi version of Ayatollah Komeini. In addition, with Sadr gaining so much support, Sistani must be seen to be taking a leadership role in guiding the process alongor else cede ground to Sadr, something he is unlikely to want to do. Sistani, in many ways is the best safeguard against too much Iranian influence in Iraq. He might be Persian, but he is not a follower of Khomeini like Ayatollah Sadr was. As for Sadr Jr. he is staking out his political future in opposition, he comes from the same ilk as Khomeini, that is why Sadr and Sistani have had such a long running fued. Sadr-Theocracy
Sistani-Moderate Progressive Islamic regime (much more democratic) experiment

As an aside I think you are right in saying that the US has been too involved in promoting democracy in Iraq. What we need to do is to provide security to enable a political process to get along. The Iraqis will have to sort out their future. No security, no new social contract, No easy or timely withdrawal from Iraq.

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