Friday, November 07, 2014

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani voices concern

In major news out of Iraq, Raheem Salman (Reuters) reports:

Iraq's most influential Shi'ite cleric said on Friday that corruption in the armed forces had enabled Islamic State to seize much of northern Iraq, criticism that will pressure the government to enact reforms in the face of an insurgency.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has become increasingly critical of Iraqi leaders since Islamic State's lightning advance created Iraq's worst crisis since a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

al-Sistani could determine elections, so great is his influence.  And he's a key figure the United States government seeks out whenever they attempt (half-assed or fully) an effort in Iraq.

While he remains politically neutral for the most part, he can remain pointedly politically neutral.

By 2011, it was clear al-Sistani was done with Nouri al-Maliki.  The protesters' demands were being ignored and that appeared to bother al-Sistani a great deal.  By the time the spring of 2012 rolled around and with Nouri facing real trouble, al-Sistani pointedly sat out on the issue of a no-vote in Parliament.  Though he was asked to weigh in and call for the proposal to be set aside, he pointedly refused to comment one way or another allowing the measure to move forward.  (Then-Iraqi President Jalal Talabani would kill the effort at the end of May 2012.)

His remarks today are significant in the timing.  While many others say similar things privately (Ammar al-Hakim, to name but one), al-Sistani is going public and doing so very early in Haider al-Abadi's tenure as prime minister which can be seen as al-Sistani putting the new government on notice that it needs to get its act together and do so quickly.

The Grand Ayatollah wasn't the only one making statements today.  All Iraq News reports, "The Religious Authority represented by Sheikh Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalayi, called Authority called politicians to understand their huge responsibility at current critical stage."

Last night, Iraqi Spring MC reports, 2 women were injured in the continued military bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods and they have video of today's continued bombings.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports, "The Islamic State organization executed three women working in a Beauty Shop in Mosul" and 3 Baghdad bombings left 5 people dead and twenty-four more injured.  Alsumaria adds 1 corpse was found dumped in Tareq, 4 more were found dumped outside Tikrit,  and a bombing late, last night to the south of Tikrit left 3 Iraqi soldiers dead and three more injured.

Tuesday is Veterans Day.  We've got a few things in the public account I'll try to note throughout the day today.  If you or your organization is offering a special to honor veterans, feel free to e-mail the public account ( and we will note it.  All things received before the next Iraq snapshot will be noted in it.

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