Sistani’s Threat: January Elections are a Must
Al-Zaman/DPA: The office of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has issued a demand that free and clean elections be held in every area of Iraq in January. He said that all necessary preparations must be taken to allow them to proceed in security. He warned that the supreme religious leadership would not take it lightly if the elections were postponed. He added that every vote is important, and that it is a religious duty laid upon every adult Muslim (mukallaf) to vote. (This last is the language of Shiite law, which requires that laypersons obey implicitly the Object of Emulation among the grand ayatollahs with regard to religious and ethical obligations. Believers who turn 15 are responsible (mukallaf) for obeying religious law. Sistani is saying that it would be a sin not to vote).
Meanwhile, Muqtada al-Sadr is now indicating once again that he will boycott the elections, since he views them as being held under the auspices of the American occupation.
Sistani’s threat should be taken very seriously. If at any point he despairs of getting what he wants from the Americans, he can single-handedly start an urban revolution against them (see below).
If the elections are held, they will be bloody and turnout will be light, unless the security situation improves markedly. It is a tough one.