July 8, 2009

THANKS, W:

Did the Toppling of Saddam Hussein Lead to Recent Events in Iran?: Given the connections between Iraq and Iran, it's not as unlikely as it sounds. (Christopher HitchensPosted Monday, July 6, 2009, Slate)

The most exciting and underreported news of the past few weeks in Iran has been that the emerging challenger to the increasingly frantic and isolated "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. And Rafsanjani has recently made a visit to the city of Najaf in Iraq to confer with Ayatollah Ali Husaini Sistani, a long-standing opponent of the Khamenei doctrines, as well as meeting in the city of Qum with Jawad al-Shahristani, who is Sistani's representative in Iran. It is this dialectic between Iraqi and Iranian Shiites that underlies the flabbergasting statement issued from Qum last weekend to the effect that the Ahmadinejad government has no claim to be the representative of the Iranian people.

One of the apparent paradoxes involved in visiting Iran is this: If you want to find deep-rooted opposition to the clerical autocracy, you must make a trip to the holy cities of Mashad and Qum. It is in places like this, consecrated to the various imams of Shiite mythology, that the most stubborn and vivid criticism is often to be heard—as well as the sort of criticism that the ruling mullahs find it hardest to deal with.


But only apparent.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 8, 2009 5:30 AM
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