Corridors of Power

WILL SHIITE CHURCHMAN OPPOSE SURGE? — Aside from Democratic opposition at home, President Bush’s troop increase for Baghdad is “greatly vulnerable” to rejection by a powerful figure in Iraq itself — the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, whose charisma and towering influence over the majority of Shiite Muslims remains as undisputable as ever. A well-informed Western source in Iraq says the chances are that the aged, reclusive cleric could come out against the surge unless the Bush administration has privately prepared the ground with him in advance, which doesn’t seem to have happened. He is said to feel that the military […]

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