*Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani threw his weight behind the desirability of a near-term interim government in Iraq, during a meeting with Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani.
and calling for elections to a national assembly for Iraqis to produce a new constitution, according to Patrick Tyler of the New York Times.Sistani is deeply unhappy with current conditions in the country, saying, “The allied campaign to end the tyranny and oppression of Saddam Hussein “is like an occupation, not a liberation, as the people have been told.” He and other Shiites also complained about the US appointing Sunni governors and administrators in the Shiite areas. (The American-appointed mayor of Najaf is an ex-army officer. Not a good idea.
*Some 60 newspapers are now being published in Iraq, carrying all sorts of views freely, after long years when Baathist censorship made such activity on this scale impossible. The number of newspapers is expected to grow to 100 soon, according to Asharq al-Awsat. The typical such newspaper has 8 pages or less, and Adnan Hussein says that they suffer from editorial and production problems. They are published by parties, factions, and individuals. There is now a shortage of trained journalists and editors.