[Marxism] Et tu, Chalabi?

Andy Coates esquincle at capital.net
Wed Nov 26 21:09:35 MST 2003


November 27, 2003
U.S. Plan in Iraq to Shift Control Hits Major Snag

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 26 -- The American plan to turn over power in Iraq more 
quickly was thrown into disarray on Wednesday when the country's most powerful 
cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, made public his opposition to a proposal 
for indirect elections.

"All of us are groping around right now," an administration official said in 
Washington, acknowledging that the plan worked out earlier this month by the 
Iraqi Governing Council and L. Paul Bremer III, the American administrator of 
Iraq, would have to be revised.

Spokesmen for Ayatollah Sistani, who exercises strong influence over Iraq's 
majority Shiites, said he insisted that the election, planned for June, be a 
direct ballot and not the caucus-style vote called for in the American plan. He 
also insists that the new Iraqi government have a more overtly Islamic character.

"The people should have a basic role in issues concerning the destiny of their 
country," Abdul Aziz al- Hakim, a Shiite cleric and politician, said in an 
interview. Mr. Hakim said he discussed the American proposal with Ayatollah 
Sistani on Tuesday.

[second to last paragraphs]

The view that the United States elections play a major role in shaping Iraq's 
political future is widely held among council members.

Ahmad Chalabi, another council member, said: "The whole thing was set up so 
President Bush could come to the airport in October for a ceremony to 
congratulate the new Iraqi government. When you work backwards from that, you 
understand the dates the Americans were insisting on." American officials deny 
that electoral concerns played a role in their planning.

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