Iraq’s George Washington

Citizen Z thinks he’s identified the “George Washington” of Iraq’s brand-new democracy:

How lucky are we, and the Iraqi people, that the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is who he is? Consider:

  1. He’s the number one religious leader in Iraq.
  2. His followers comprise the 60% Shi’a majority there.
  3. He doesn’t want to run the country himself.
  4. He believes in keeping the government separate from the religious order.
  5. He doesn’t want to fight a war with the Sunnis.
  6. He believes Iraq’s leaders should be elected and he lent his own credibility to the cause of getting out the vote.

Take away any of these characteristics and we could be facing a very different situation in Iraq. So I ask again: How lucky is that? It’s on the order of blessed, in my opinion.

Meanwhile, Israpundit has an opinion on “insurgents” and leftists, and links to an NYT article touching on Sistani’s surprising forebearance to date.
I’ll grant that Sistani’s so far been remarkably democratic, but that’s about all I’ll grant. Personally, I’ll defer giving Washingtonian praise to anybody in Iraq until they’ve got a stable constitutional republic over there. I think they’ve got a very good shot at it, mind you, and I still support our mission there. I’m just not ready to count chickens yet.

  1. It is too soon to know how great a man Sistani is. However, he has shown both wisdom and tactical brilliance in the last two years. Considering the suffering of his people lo these many years and the tremendous political complexity of Iraq and the region, his performance has been very impressive. If Iraq keeps it together and this whole Arab democracy thing spreads over the next twenty years (and that is the time it will take at a minimum, I would think), he will be remembered as one of its founding fathers.

  2. Yeah, it’ll be a long while before we can make that kind of call.

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