Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s convoy made a grand (in a third world sort of way) sight on the lunchtime news as the old man headed for Najaf. An expert at keeping his powder dry, he always refused to meet Paul Bremmer when he ran Iraq for the US, saying the Iraqi people should decide the country’s future. Democracy rather than theocracy has seemed to be Sistani’s thing, with the other side to his non-interventionism being a toleration of young radicals, like Moqtada al Sadr.
But things have gotten way out of hand and forced him into play. Saying he wants no guns in the holy city (though his convoy was well protected), he’s called on Iraqis to march on Najaf. The idea of thousands filling the streets to break the siege and reclaim the temples certainly sounds Ghandi-ish. What fun.