Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Shiite Theocracy

There is a Western press consensus that Sistani is a 'moderate', who doesn't want to control the state like Khomeini.

I have argued earlier against this, to recap: the difference between what Sistani wants and what Khomeini wanted is mainly in official titles, not the power they can exert. Khomeini had a Guardian Council to strike down laws, and had the top ayatollah as quasi-head-of-state with control over some government organisations. In contrast, Sistani wants to rely on a permanent Shiite majority in parliament, where Shiite MPs would be constitutionally required to respect clerical rulings - a more indirect but just as sure control over lawmaking. And contrary to presumptions, Sistani won't keep himself out of daily politics either - tough it must be said, this time it seems a wise move, unlike his manoveuring during the assaults on Fallujah - (via Juan Cole):

Al-Zaman/ AFP: Sistani recently pressed the new Interior Minister, Baqir Jabr, to investigate the murder of 6 members of the powerful Sunni Dulaim tribe in the Kisra district of Baghdad.


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