Two VERY troubling Iraq stories
This has been developing for awhile as his influence has been failing in favor of the more militant Sadr-type clerics. Sistani has decided not to squander any more of his power pushing against the tide. Calls for peace are now the route to irrelevancy in Iraq. Enough said.
Interestingly, this statement comes just one day after Sistani met with Prime Minister Maliki. Iwould like to know what went on in that meeting.
Second, Kurdish President Barzani has ordered the replacement of the Iraqi flag with the Kurdish one, a symbolic but meaningful statement towards independence with regional implications.
(Later: Kurdish PKK guerillas killed seven Turkish soldiers in four separate attacks in 24 hours in southeastern Turkey.)
(Later still: (AP) "Meanwhile, authorities canceled a highly touted ceremony in which the U.S.-led coalition was to hand over control of Iraq's armed forces command to the Defense Ministry after disagreements emerged over Iraqi forces' responsibilities and the coalition's role. The ceremony, initially set for Saturday, was postponed to Sunday and then canceled altogether.")
The NYTimes, on the sliding US troop morale.
And, Sistani's statement might well be related to the Iraqi Government's announcement to extend the Baghdad security operation into Sadr city(bottom.)