The Al-Sadr Factor

A deadly stampede may provoke Shi'ite opposition to the Iraqi government

For Iraq's Shi'ite-led government, the stampede in Baghdad that killed nearly 1,000 Shi'ite pilgrims last week may become a political calamity as well. The stampede was set off by rumors that a suicide bomber was about to blow himself up on the bridge leading to one of the city's most sacred Shi'ite shrines. Now public outrage at the government's handling of the disaster has raised the possibility that voters will express their anger by rejecting Iraq's proposed constitution when it comes up for a vote in October.

The disaster could provide fuel for efforts by Sunni opponents of the proposed constitution...

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