Haeri rejects Transitional Authority
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Robert Collier has pulled off a coup, landing an interview with Grand Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri, a leading Iraqi religious authority still resident in Qom. Al-Haeri is a Khomeini style radical, unlike Najaf’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the leading religious authority in Iraq.
Collier reports, “Haeri said Sunday that the latest U.S. plan is unacceptable and only a strict Islamic government would do. “The Iraqi constitution should be drafted only under supervision of the just mushtahids[mujtahids],” he said, using a term for the holiest religious scholars. “It must be an Islamic government. Other forms of government are not Islamic. They may be elected by people or anything, but they are not accepted.” … Haeri called the current Iraqi authority, the Governing Council, “puppets of the Americans. … The American administration in Iraq is not legitimate. So we are not obliged to obey the Americans.” ‘
Haeri did say that Iraqis could not offer resistance to the US until they had an Islamic government in place, a face-saving move that allows him to avoid calling for violence despite his rejection of the current situation.
Al-Haeri has been a mentor to Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical young son of the martyred Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr (d.1999). Sadiq al-Sadr had appointed al-Haeri his successor.
Collier quoted a Western diplomat in Iran as saying of al-Haeri, “If he returns to Iraq, he will strengthen Sadr and will open a real battle with Sistani for the soul of Iraqi Shiites. It will be very dangerous for the Americans. It will be like throwing a match onto gasoline.”