In a move that almost certainly will have a major impact on Iraq’s future, the nation’s top religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has publicly endorsed the protesters and is demanding that the ruling elite give in to real reforms.
Sistani rarely interjects in Iraqi politics, which tends to make his rare comments highly influential. After weeks of criticizing violence against the protesters, he is now accusing the government of being “delusional” and thinking they can stall to avoid real reform.
Sistani went on to declare that what comes after the protests “will not be the same as before,” and that the government should recognize that fact. He also praised the protesters for the honorable way they’d sought reform.
Protesters in several major Shi’ite cities in Iraq celebrated after news of the sermon, saying that the Shi’ite religious leadership is with them. Security forces are still firing tear gas and live ammunition at the protesters, however, trying to force them from the streets.
The big elephant in the room right now is Iran, as they have endorsed the continued rule of the existing government, and sent military officials to Iraq to talk to Sistani and other clerics. Sistani has denied making any deals, and many protesters are criticizing Iran for meddling.
One thought on “Iraq’s Top Shi’ite Cleric Backs Protests, Says Iraq Will Never Be the Same”
US plants among protesters are criticizing Iran meddling. They usually get quoted — the modern reporters never leave hotel rooms unless in the company of approved protesters.
Iran is not their issue. Demands for reforms are generically good — but in the condition of occupation, how to implement any of them? Just changing faces in the power will not be enough. And until US vacates Iraqi-Syria border, tell Kurds thank you very much — and encourages them to participate in UN process in Geneva.
Then Iraq can re-establish infrastructure to Syria and Turkey, linking fully via land by Europe and Levant. Without economic development, they can all just play musical chairs in the government. Shia population is expecting some peace dividend after ISIS has been defeated. But US is still squatting there, I guess checking out abandoned farms, making sure ISIS is not raising chicken to raise funds.
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