Al Sistani's role divides parties

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Al Sistani's role divides parties

Post by Kiny0625 on Fri Jul 11, 2008 2:39 am

By Basil Adas


Baghdad, 11 July 2008 (Gulf News)
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A strong political debate is being waged in Baghdad on the role the Shiite supreme religious authority in Najaf, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, played in negotiations between Iraq and the US on a memorandum of security.

Al Sistani insisted on including a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces.

This
intervention by Al Sistani has brought to the fore the differences
between the major political parties in the Iraqi government.

The
Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council led by Abdul Aziz Al Hakim has accepted
Al Sistani's demand for a definite timetable for the withdrawal of US
forces in Iraq. But the position of the mainly Sunni Iraqi Accord Front
and the Kurdish bloc was that the subject of withdrawals was not to be
raised in the current negotiations, Kurdish political sources told Gulf
News.

Mahmoud Othman, leader of the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan, told Gulf News: "The
Political Council for National Security, which includes the major
political blocs in the country, had agreed not to press for a timetable
for the withdrawal of US forces, but it seems the call by Al Sistani is
the crucial one to determine the progress of the negotiations with the
Americans."

In some
Shiite neighbourhoods in Baghdad people have written slogans on walls
reading: "Sistani is the national independence hero".

Resentment

Al
Sistani's intervention has caused resentment among some political
parties and the Kurds. They feel vital political decisions need to be
made by political parties and not clergy.

Al Sistani's position was totally opposed to that of the Kurds who support the long-term presence of the American military.A spokesman
for Al Sistani said, however, he did not interfere with the details of
the agreement such as a specific timetable. All he did was to call on
the Iraqi Government to commit itself to the principle of sovereignty
and national independence in any agreement with the Americans, the
leader of the Shiite Islamic Council, Hamid Muala Al Saedi, told Gulf
News.

Sources in Najaf told Gulf News Al
Sistani told national security advisor Muwaffaq Al Rubaie when the
latter visited him days ago that Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki must
remember that the national independence of Iraq should be
non-negotiable in Iraqi-US talks.


But
Iraqi political parties opposed to Iranian influence in Iraq were
angered at Al Sistani's attempt to influence the Government. They
accused Iran of interfering in the Iraqi-US talks through Al Sistani.

Political
researcher Amjad Hussain told Gulf News Iran has a "dangerous"
denominational influence on Shiite religious authorities in Iraq.


http://www.iraqupdates.com/p_articles.php/article/33646

Kiny0625

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