Patel on Grand Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri as a possible Sistani Successor
David Patel, in Basra, brings up the question of who would succeed Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who is 73 (some say 75) if he died. He suggests that one not underestimate the chances of Kadhim al-Haeri, a long-time ayatollah and political activist associated with the Da`wa party who is based in Qom and has declined to return to Iraq until the American occupation ends. Al-Haeri is a hard liner with Khomeinist views who was once aligned with Muqtada al-Sadr, but the two are said to have fallen out.
My own guess is that Grand Ayatollah Bashir Najafi (a Pakistani) should not be discounted as a possible successor. The Najaf establishment is uninterested in nationality, and Najafi is a forceful personality. Najaf will increasingly depend on the pilgrim trade from points east economically, which would be a support to Bashir. He is close to Sistani, which will count for something. And he has anti-American credentials.