Triumphalism over Iraq vote smacks into reality


Leading Shiite cleric says new Iraq must embrace Islamic law
BAGHDAD — A high-ranking Shiite cleric who helped a coalition of religious parties to apparent victory in Iraq's elections eight days ago said Sunday that the new constitution must embody Islamic law.

"We will accept no compromise," said a statement by Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Ishaq al-Fayad, one of the three top Shiite clerics who serve beneath the most senior religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Al-Fayad said separation of religion and state must be "completely rejected."

Vice President Cheney, on Fox News Sunday, cautioned against jumping to conclusions about what kind of document Iraq's Transitional National Assembly will write. He indicated the United States plans a hands-off approach. "We need to step back a bit now," Cheney said. "The bottom line for everybody to remember here is, this is not going to be, you know, an Iraqi version of America. This is going to be Iraqi."

Cheney predicted Iraqis would try to avoid recreating what they've seen next door in Iran: "a religious theocracy that has been a dismal failure."

Hmm, Cheney and predictions..lemme see...yeah, here it is:

Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.

So much for Cheney's predictive capabilities. Poor Allawi has gotten such a small percentage of the vote and Sistani has gotten so much of it that it's starting to look like he might short-circuit US plans and demand a speedy withdrawal.

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