Rieff on Iraqi Shiites
David Rieff”s excellent firsthand report from Iraq on the Shiite movements there in the New York Times magazine is now available online (free registration required).
This report seems to me among the more realistic and informed assessments of the situation yet to appear in the Western press. Rieff has done an excellent job of eliciting the views of the major players (Bashir Najafi, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, Muqtada al-Sadr, and Shiites on the street), and conveying the underlying resentments against occupation that are burning slowly beneath the surface.
One reader suggested that it was the Sunni insurgency that brought the US around to seeking an indigenous government, not the Shiites. This is a fair point, but obviously as of Nov. 15 Mr. Bremer believed that the situation could be addressed by stage-managed elections based on appointed “councils.” It was Sistani that challenged this procedure and insisted on open, general elections.