Monday, August 29, 2005

Sistani embarrasses the government.

The differences between the Sheat clergy and the parties that used its name during the elections are deepening and this appeared clearly after Sistani that he's not going to accept having his name or that of the clergy used for any future electoral campaign.

The clergy's negative attitude towards Sheat ruling parties increased after more seeing criticism coming from the people in the Sheat regions to the worsening situation in their cities which is attributed to the failure of the local administrations in running the affairs of the cities; the peak of the crisis came when Sheat-Shaet conflicts started in Najaf and a few other cities. I was even told by some Najafi friends that the conflict pushed Sistani to rufuse any meetings with government officials.

Today the differences reached the peak when Sistani dropped a bomb by rejecting federalism and thus rejecting the constitution of the Kurdish-Sheat alliance putting the current ruling parties in a difficult position.
Sistani in his statement said "The Sunnis are your family. Stay by their side this time so that they stay by your side in the coming times…"

This development reflects a critical turn in the relationship between the Sheat clergy and the government, and the ruling politicians will be faced again by the danger of having clerics interfering with politics but this time, the Sheat alliance which insisted onmentioning the clergy in the introduction of the constitution will certainly realize this danger and they will be left before a hard choice as they have put all their weight on the balance of the clergy and if the latter lets them down the consequences will be catastrophic for those politicians.

The persistence of some politicians to discuss all matters with the clergy in all topics gave the clerics more and more confidence in their role and in a country like Iraq, abolishing the influence of clerics is extremely difficult but still, depending on them is even more dangerous.

Will Sheat politicians absorb the lesson this time and what's their reaction going to be like? Will they try to appease the clergy and regain its support? Or are they going to act independently and count on their own decisions that are deigned to please the people not the clerics?

It is better to have these differences solved right now and prevent them from becoming time-bombs embedded in the constitution; of course this will make the situation a bit harder but our road wasn't easy at all in the last 35 years so why fear a few more difficulties!?
The clergy with all its power and influence hardly got 50% of the votes for its endorsed slate (when the Sunni didn't vote) so I think unity among liberal and secular power can grant them a good chunk of the votes in the coming elections and that will be sufficient to put the clerics and the clergy-dependent parties back in their actual size.

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