March 26, 2010

MOOKIE IN THE MIDDLE:

Muqtada's star on the rise again (Abeer Mohammed, 3/26/10, Asia Times)

The movement led by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is poised to make a dramatic return to the forefront of Iraq's Shi'ite politics, combining its success in recent elections with the anticipated elevation of its leader's religious status.

The Sadrists are the main faction in the Iraqi National Alliance, which is projected to have won 68 seats in the new parliament. [...]

Alongside growing leverage over their political rivals, the Sadrists are expected to enjoy greater spiritual authority among their supporters as Muqtada continues his studies to become an eminent Shi'ite scholar, or ayatollah.

Officials close to the 36-year-old cleric say he is making swift progress in his schooling at a seminary in the Iranian holy city of Qom. It is unclear whether he will graduate soon, as most ayatollahs spend several decades attaining the rank.

It is also as yet unclear whether the Sadrists will enter government or form an opposition. Whatever they decide, analysts say the Sadrists will be impossible to ignore in the new parliament.

"They will have their word in every decision," Abdullah Jaafar, a retired professor of political sciences in Baghdad, said.


There's no reason they should have been expected to, but the neocons have never figured Mookie out.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 26, 2010 6:02 AM
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