Sistani speaks. And says, "NO!"


The Kurdistan Observer reports that Ayatollah Sistani, Iraq's revered Shiite religious leader, says an emphatic "no" to the Kurds reclaiming Kirkuk for themselves. Never mind that historically it was the Kurds who occupied Kirkuk until Saddam engaged in an Arabification of the city by booting out the Kurds and moving in Sunni Arabs. Looks like the Holy Man has his eye on the oil dollars coming out of the fields in and around Kirkuk. Wants to make sure that wealth is "shared" by all Iraqis. You bet.
In Iraq as elsewhere, if you want to know what's goin' on, follow the money. With oil at $60 or so per barrel, that's not chump change. Will greed ground the Iraqi constitution? Will federalism be stillborn in Iraq? Or just take a terrible beating as it has here in the U.S.?

In another constitutionally pertinent story,

"The president of Iraq's Kurdistan region, Massud Barzani, has rejected Sharia or Islamic law as a model for a new Iraqi state. 'We respect all points of view, but will not accept compromises over what we believe are our democratic rights. The Kurds are fighting for a new, federal and democratic Iraq,' he said in an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica published on Monday."

Anyone taking bets on how all this is going to work out and result in a unified, secular, minority—tolerating, democratic, all—inclusive, constitutionally—ratified Iraq? Is Vegas or Ladbrokes posting any odds on this?
Dennis Sevakis   8 23 05