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Iraqi Shi’ites split from Iran

Posted by Richard on May 13, 2007

This strikes me as very, very good news, so don't expect to see much coverage in the mainstream media:

Iraq's largest Shiite political party split from Iran this week and pledged allegiance to the moderate pro-secularist Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani:

Iraq's biggest Shi'ite party on Saturday pledged its allegiance to the country's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in a move that would distance it from Shi'ite Iran where it was formed.

The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) said it had introduced significant policy changes and changed its name to the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) — dropping the word "Revolution."

The party, which makes up about a quarter of Prime Minister al Maliki's ruling Shi'ite Alliance, used to take its guidance in religious, social, and political matters from an Iranian religious institution led by Ayatollah Khameini, but not any more:

"We cherish the great role played by the religious establishment headed by Grand Ayatollah Sayed Ali al-Sistani … in preserving the unity of Iraq and the blood of Iraqis and in helping them building a political system based on the constitution and law," said Rida Jawad al-Takki, a senior group member, who read out the party's decisions to reporters.

The party pledged to follow the guidance of the Shi'ite establishment, he said.

Yeah, I know — this will prompt the radical Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda to redouble their efforts to increase the body count and shake America's resolve (such as it is). But it's still a great development that may eventually make a big difference. So, I'll say bravo and best wishes to the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. 

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