Thursday, April 03, 2003

This from the Washington Post:

Brooks said a senior Shiite Muslim theologian with the rank of grand ayatollah, highest in the Shiite hierarchy, who had been held under house arrest by the Iraqis, had ordered local people in Najaf not to interfere with the U.S.-led invasion troops.

"A prominent cleric, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, who had been placed under house arrest by the regime for a considerable period of time, issued a fatwa," or religious decree, Brooks said.

It is interesting that Sistani had issued an earlier fatwa--no doubt under government duress--declaring a jihad against any invaders. It was this earlier fatwa that Syrian foreign ministry official Butheina Shaaban had cited to me as proof that Iraq's Shiites would not support an outside military attack.

We'll have to see, now, won't we?

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