Friday, May 11, 2007

'The cultivation of life'

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"BAGHDAD - Popular wisdom in Iraq rules that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, with a simple fatwa, or even a single word, could bring the US occupation to an abrupt end. So why doesn't he?......

Sheikh Mohammed al-Roubaie is a top cleric with the Imam al-Rabani organization, affiliated with the marjaiyya (highest-ranking clerics) , which he defines as "the government of the people". He insists there is "no separation between religion and politics". He blames the current "crisis" on the fact that "people are not following the religious leaders. Religious thinking is responsible for solving people's problems. But not all learned men who put on a turban are truly religious." .....

The Sistani question
Roubaie said Sistani is like the principal in the marjaiyya. His rulings are obeyed "in general, but there are also the followers of individual marjas". Roubaie candidly admitted, "There are differences among the marjas. Some think it's better for the Americans to stay, otherwise there will be civil war. Others think they should leave. There is no united opinion." Personally, he feels "bad" about the divergences.

Roubaie explained why Sistani cannot issue a fatwa to get rid of the occupation: "He doesn't have such a privilege, he knows that a lot of people would die. The only one who would have such a privilege is Imam Mahdi." As the Prophet Mohammed and the Imam Mahdi (prophesied redeemer of Islam) "are not situated in real life now and are thinking about more important things", it's unlikely Sistani will directly tell President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to pack up and go.....

Roubaie let it escape that "only Sistani and al-Hakim" have a close relationship with the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki - an observation that is a political treatise in itself. It means that what Sistani wants is the consolidation of the political power of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which is led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim......."

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