September 5, 2004


Al-Sadr's Ex-Mentor Distances Himself (AP, 9/05/04)

An Iranian-based cleric who had been the former spiritual guide of radical anti-U.S. Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has distanced himself from his former pupil's actions, his Web site said Sunday.

Grand Ayatollah Kazem al-Hosseini al-Haeri, who lives in the holy Iranian city of Qom, said al-Sadr, whose loyalists have engaged in deadly clashes with U.S. forces in Iraq, is no longer his representative in that war-torn country.

"Mr. al-Sadr used to be our representative ... but that was on condition of obedience to and coordination with our office in Najaf (southern Iraq)," al-Haeri said in comments posted on his Web site.

Al-Haeri said al-Sadr "does not coordinate with our office, so his agency became void." He added that al-Sadr "does not seek our advice in his stances, so we cannot endorse what he does."

The grand ayatollah has been critical of the uprising by al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, which battled U.S. forces for weeks in April and May, then once more in August.

Al-Sadr is young — in his 30s — and a relatively low-level cleric in the Shiite religious hierarchy. Al-Haeri, who holds the highest clerical rank, gave him some religious legitimacy as he built his movement.

Sadrism, like Khomeinism before it, is incompatible with Shi'ism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 5, 2004 8:28 PM

This is, of all your fantasies, the silliest, Orrin. Is the pope Catholic? Only you would say no.

By the way, who is the ayatollah's 'representative' in Iraq now? What does he do? Why does an Iranian politician have a representative in another country?

Obviously, he thinks Iran controls the Iraqi Shia.

Probably true to a large degree, but so much for an Iraqi democracy

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 6, 2004 6:04 PM

The Pope has representatives in most every country, yet plenty are democracies. Your point eludes me.

Posted by: oj at September 6, 2004 6:51 PM

He's a Catholic. Iran's government is Shia.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 6, 2004 10:32 PM


Posted by: oj at September 6, 2004 10:42 PM

The shia have representatives in several countries. None are democracies.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 8, 2004 7:05 PM

Iran and Iraq nearly are, because Shi'a.

Posted by: oj at September 8, 2004 7:36 PM