Sistani No Demonstrations Over Interim

Sistani: No Demonstrations Over Interim Constitution

az-Zaman: Ibrahim Jaafari, leader of the al-Da`wa al-Islamiyah Party in Iraq, who is close to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, revealed Tuesday that the ayatollah had pledged not to call for street protests against the Fundamental Law signed Monday.

The son of Grand Ayatollah Ali Bashir al-Najafi, a Pakistani close to Sistani, told al-Hayat that Sistani’s reservations had to do with the place of Islam in the Fundamental Law and with the issue of how loose Iraq’s federalism would be. He said that the clerics of Najaf do not reject the law altogether, out of fear of “chaos” should they do so.

al-Zaman: Meanwhile, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said the document would not be legitimate until voted on by a general referendum of the Iraqi public. He restated his opposition to a provision that would allow three Kurdish provinces to veto any new constitution.

Radical young Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr dismissed the Fundamental Law as “an illegitimate document”. His office complained that it had ignored the Sadrists, and did not represent the aspirations of “our people” and certainly “did not derive from its will.” (The Rousseauan language that legitimacy derives from the will of the people was first used by Sistani, and now seems to be being picked up by Muqtada. Actually, it would be better if they were reading Jefferson than Rousseau, since his ideology can lead to corporatism and authoritarianism, not just democracy). Sadr’s communiqué also complained about it shortchanging the role of Islam, which represented an impudent rejection of the will of the Muslim majority.

Also, al-Hayat reports that US Secretary of State Colin Powell called up his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, and promised to send an envoy to Ankara to reassure the Turks, who had objected strongly to the degree of autonomy granted Iraqi Kurds. The Turks do not want their own Kurds to seek a similar arrangement.