Sunday, December 14
In Iraq, an ayatollah we shouldn't ignore
By Robin Wright, Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2003

A quarter-century ago, the United States misread the power and legitimacy of a Shiite ayatollah -- and ended up "losing" Iran, then one of two pillars of American policy in the Middle East. The impact is felt to this day.

Could Washington be on the verge of making the same mistake in Iraq in a way that could also compromise, even betray, the very democratic process that the Bush administration has begun to demand for the entire region?

The problem stems from the game of chicken the United States is playing with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani over the future of Iraq. The cleric, the most powerful leader in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was toppled, wants elections for a government that will assume control when the American occupation ends on July 1. [...more]
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