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August 2, 2004
Sistani: All Iraqis Must Collaborate Against Islamofascist Terrorists

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani again emphasized his moderating influence on Iraq by strongly condemning the wave of Islamofascist bombings targeting Christian churches in Iraq this weekend, killing eleven in five coordinated attacks. Sistani urged all Iraqis to "collaborate" with the interim Iraqi government in order to end the terror, and he was not only Muslim cleric to do so:

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani said in a statement that Sunday's assaults on Christian churches "targeted Iraq's unity, stability and independence." ... The more senior al-Sistani said: "We condemn and reproach these hideous crimes and deem necessary the collaboration of everyone the government and the people in putting an end to aggression on Iraqis," said the cleric, who is based in the southern city of Najaf.

"We assert the importance of respecting the rights of Christian civilians and other religious minorities and reaffirm their right to live in their home country Iraq in security and peace."

Sistani leads the vast majority of Iraqi Shi'a who comprise the majority of Iraq's population, especially in the South. Sistani was joined yesterday by another, more radical cleric, who appears to have embraced politics rather than terrorism - Moqtada al-Sadr:

"This is a cowardly act and targets all Iraqis," Abdul Hadi al-Daraji, spokesman for radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, told Al-Jazeera television.

Obviously, the terrorists still have plenty of resources for their atacks, but their political cover has increasingly disappeared. With even the radical clerics calling for the terror to stop, the position of ex-Saddamites and foreign terrorists will find it harder to hide out from the new Iraqi government, especially as their own security forces stabilize. Iraqis are tired of war, and especially tired of foreign lunatics blowing up Iraqis, and all the terrorists have managed to accomplish is to unite the disparate strains of Iraqis into a cohesive front to oppose them.

Working with Sistani early on and taking his advice to negotiate with Sadr appears to have been a brilliant move at this point. All factions except the bombers now look to be focused on upcoming elections instead of leftover ordinance in order to further their policy aims. In other words, Iraq keeps drawing closer to a representative government with social support for its success -- which looks like progress to me.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 2, 2004 7:47 AM

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Over the last couple of days, there have two important statements made in the Middle East by Arab leaders. Normally I don’t put a lot of credence in statements made by politicians or leaders; I’m more interested in actions and results. Bu... [Read More]

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