moving on

August 27, 2004

I guess since we can’t bomb Najaf right now, we went back to pummeling this town.


Meanwhile, one ponders the possibilities.

Sistani’s prestigious and powerful presence has ensured that elections will be held in Iraq within the next six months. At the same time, he serves as an equally potent source of the participation of Islamic candidates in the Iraqi elections.

Iran’s role in the Shi’ite side of the power equation in Iraq is extremely calculating and multidimensional. Iran has strong theological ties with Iraq; it served as an important source of anti-regime protest even during the heyday of Saddam’s rule; and continues to play a similar role regarding the presence of US forces in its neighboring state. Iran’s influence on Iraq’s underground economy has remained substantial. As such, it is expected to influence the future course of that country’s politics. One can be assured that Iran will – to the chagrin of the US – handpick many candidates in the forthcoming Iraqi elections.

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Sistani will play a crucial role in resolving the dilemma of the Iraqi Shi’ites, by promoting a sui generis Iraqi democracy based on moderate Islam. Regardless of the outcome, Iran’s influence on Iraqi politics is not likely to dissipate in its neighboring state. This reality continues to frustrate the Bush administration.

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