September 22, 2008
SUPPOSE HE'S SUI GENERIS?:
Iraq's Mehdi Army at Crossroads as U.S. Scales Down (REUTERS, 22/09/2008)
Greater religious authority could be one way Sadr intends to retain relevance. Widely believed to be studying in Iran, Ubaidi said it would not be long before Sadr would enter the ranks of the Marjaiya, or senior Shi'ite Islamic clergy.
"The next key step for the Sadrist movement may relate to Sadr's religious status, and in particular whether he is going to make an attempt to act as a scholar with the ability to issue his own fatwas (religious edicts)," Visser said.
In Shi'ite-majority Iraq the Marjaiya have huge influence, although frosty ties with Iraq's top Shi'ite clergy mean it is unclear how much weight would be given to Sadr's fatwas.
Often ambiguous and sometimes contradictory, many of Sadr's frequent statements give few clues to his thinking.
Making few public appearances, Sadr may next appear when the U.S.-Iraqi security deal is signed, Ubaidi said. Until then, the support of at least some of Iraq's Shi'ite poor remains strong.
He can't follow the Hezbollah model when we've already liberated the Shi'a and the Sunni have decided to concede. Posted by Orrin Judd at September 22, 2008 11:39 AM