The Spectacle Blog

Moqtada al Sadr, Kingmaker

By on 4.20.06 | 2:19PM

What personage, what veilwork of reasons, could lurk behind Jaafari's decision to make himself removable as Prime Minister of Iraq? AP reports:

Key to al-Jaafari's change of heart was pressure from U.N. envoy Ashraf Qazi and his meetings Wednesday with the most powerful Shiite cleric in the country, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical cleric who has backed al-Jaafari, said Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman.

"There was a signal from Najaf," Othman said, referring to al-Sistani's office in the Shiite holy city. "Qazi's meetings with (al-Sistani) and al-Sadr were the chief reason that untied the knot."

My bet is, the United Nations has little sway among Baghdad's Shiites. My bet is, Kurdish threats of bolting over to a Sunni coalition were sort of icing on the cake. My bet is, chatting with Sistani is like going to see the Wizard relative to tea with "Mookie" -- the man with the muscle, the snaggletooth prince of Iraqi nationalism, the man who will determine, singlehandedly, the fateful reach of Iran in his country.

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