Good news: Shiites form bloc, seek ceasefire

December 21, 2006 at 11:25 pm (Iraq, Islamism, News, Shiite Islam, World War III)

Contrary to memes that Iraq is going to heck in a handbasket, the Shiites are getting their…stuff together.

“Shiites seek cease-fire from cleric” by Qassim Abdul-Zahra of Associated Press, courtesy of Yahoo! News.

When I first read the headline, I assumed a Shiite delegation would be going to Muqtada as-Sadr, the Shiite militia leader, to ask for a ceasefire. But I was wrong. The Shiites wanted the blessing of the senior-most Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatullah as-Sayyid Ali al-Husseini as-Sistani, for a ceasefire. They then plan to speak with as-Sadr about him joining the mainstream, whereby the Shiites would be able to get him to reign his militias in.

Meeting as-Sistani is a significant step because if he gives his blessing, not only will the Shiite bloc in the Iraqi government gain legitimacy but it would be incumbent upon Shiites to support the bloc. After all, as a cleric, the Grand Ayatullah is acting in persona Imami, on behalf of and in the person of the Hidden Imam. To disobey or go against the Grand Ayatullah would be to disobey or go against the Imam, which is tantamount to apostasy from Islam as far as Shiites are concerned.

This is also significant because this means that Shiite politics may be swinging from militant Irani-backed Sadrists to quietist stability-promoting Iraqi Shiites.

I don’t know how as-Sadr would respond, but it would be quite difficult for him to maintain his legitimacy and popular support if he essentially spurns an endeavor blessed by the Grand Ayatullah himself. Although as-Sadr has significant issues with the clerical authorities, for reasons of religious legitimacy he cannot splinter off explicitly or blatantly. I hope Shiites use this as a tool to bludgeon him into submission.

By the way, the author of the article – (قاسم عبد الزهراء, qāsim ‛abdu-z-zahrā’) Qassim Abdul-Zahra – you can’t get a more Shiite name than that. In fact, it would be considered blasphemous by Sunnis. (عبد, ‛abd) means “servant” or “slave,” and (الزهراء, az-zahrā’) is a feminine adjective meaning “the radiant” and is an epithet of (فاطمة بنت محمد, fāTimah bint muHammad) Fatimah, Muhammad’s daughter and Ali’s wife, whom Shiites revere. Technically, one can only use one of God’s 99 names in Islam after (عبد, ‛abd), otherwise it would be considered idolatry or polytheism.

Let’s see how this plays out. In any case, that a political coalition is forming among Shiites that rejects as-Sadr’s militancy is a significant development indeed. Now if only the Sunnis would follow suit.



  1. dicentra said,

    I’m curious, Musli. Why do you use “as-Sadr” and “as-Sistani” when the western press uses “al-Sadr” and “al-Sistani”? Regional variants?

    I hope your analysis of the situation is right. Discrediting as-Sadr or al-Sadr or whoever he is would prove a much happier situation than having to Kill Them All.

  2. Wickedpinto said,

    I remember one of your posts over on “utterly ridiculous” that was titled something like “shi’ites rise and oppose sunni oppression” and your basic comment was “It’s about time” or something like that.

    Am I recalling correctly mus?

  3. Wickedpinto said,

    I hope your analysis of the situation is right. Discrediting as-Sadr or al-Sadr or whoever he is would prove a much happier situation than having to Kill Them All.

    I won’t go off on my regular thing, but killing sadr, and his buddies, is a more affective way of destroying is ideology than arguing with him.

    basicly, Idea’s die EASIER than those who hold them, the idea’s might not die, but they will definately evolve, and that means that sadr’s idea’s are in affect dead.

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