Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Meanwhile, Back on the al-Sistani Ranch...

With the White House and the media all a-titter about the 9/11 commisar's hearings, this story kind of slipped under the radar screen. It will no doubt be section B'd in the papers tomorrow - but it's arguably at least as important as all the words added to the public record today in Washington:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric has urged the United Nations not to endorse the country's interim constitution, his office said Monday, raising a potentially grave obstacle to U.S. plans to hand power to Iraqis on July 1.
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani told senior U.N. official Lakhdar Brahimi in a letter that unless the United Nations rejects the constitution, he would boycott a U.N. team expected to visit Iraq soon to advise on forming an interim government...

Sistani, in a letter published by his office, said the United Nations should not approve the de facto constitution. "The (Shi'ite) religious establishment fears the occupation authorities will work to include this law in a new U.N. resolution to give it international legitimacy," he wrote.

"We warn that any such step will not be acceptable to the majority of Iraqis and will have dangerous consequences."

al-Sistani has sure become the wildcard in this whole thing, huh? Power abhors a vacuum, and it seems that al-Sistani is working hard to consolidate his base. Given the liberal-like capitulation of al-Sistani on allowing his IGC stooges to finally sign the document (after a delay that was clearly designed to embarrass the Bushinistas), you have to wonder what kinds of promises were made and gifts exchanged by Paul Bremmer to bribe the bastards into signing an occupation authority-guided document.

It seems pretty clear to me that the interim draft Iraq constitution is written on so much Charmin, and will be appropriately flushed once sovereignty is returned to the Iraqis.

IMHO, there are a few interesting Kodak moments coming up in Baghdad. I'm thinkin' that by July 4th, it's possible that the Bushinistas will look back wistfully on the 9/11 commission hearings as the very least of their worries. Trust me on this one.