Shia and Sunni Iraqi clerics were in Mecca last night to sign a document (or decree or treaty or whatever its name is!).
In my opinion choosing Mecca was not only for religious or spiritual reasons, actually I tend to believe that Saudi Arabia offered to host the meeting with such enthusiasm only to improve its image and change the general impression about it so that it's viewed as a country that supports peace and tolerance instead of a country that breeds extremism.
What the clerics agreed upon in that paper was no more than the fundamental fact and the first (or second) commandment in all religions; that is "murder is wrong".
How absurd and demeaning is that! As if they had to go to Holy Mecca to realize that murder is a crime. And as if they were admitting that until last night each sect's clerics didn't consider it a crime to murder someone from a different sect. Frankly I suspect there was never a time when they considered it a crime and I don't think signing that paper changed a thing.
With very rare exceptions, clerics are hypocrites who wear different faces for different times, situations and places, so all in all, I'm not expecting anything from that paper. Like Saudi Arabia, I think they went there and signed that paper also merely to improve their image and to pretend that they were/are not the ones to blame for the daily bloodshed in Iraq.
They want to satisfy their dead conscience and convince themselves that they had done their part of the job by signing that paper and that it's up to the people now to stop killing each other! As if it wasn't the militias they run and tensions they create that are causing the sectarian violence.
There's one other important point about the meeting that makes it rather impossible to expect it to make a difference on the ground; the two most vicious murderous factions that are responsible for most of the sectarian violence, i.e. al-Qaeda and Sadr's militia will not drop their weapons or stop their crimes just because some clerics signed a decree.
However, the document can possibly be of practical value only if it gets used in the right way; that is since the document alienates anyone who violates the points stated within, the MNF and the reluctant PM Maliki can take advantage of it and do what they have to do with people like Sadr who had long enjoyed unwritten immunity.
I mean if Sadr or certain Sunni groups refuse to abide by the articles of the decree and continue doing their daily dirty job then clerics and religious parties that signed the decree will have the pretext to stop the government or the MNF from taking action against them.
Still, this is just in theory.