Dealing With The Cleric

By demanding elections in Iraq, Grand Ayatullah Ali Sistani is gaining popularity and vexing the U.S.

The most powerful man in Iraq doesn't go out much. As an estimated 100,000 of his followers poured into the streets of Baghdad last week to demand direct elections in Iraq, Grand Ayatullah Ali Sistani stayed out of sight, holed up in the same nondescript white-walled compound on an alley off the Street of the Messenger in Najaf where he was kept under house arrest during the rule of Saddam Hussein. A crowd of followers seeking his counsel gathered outside. Some were allowed to enter; others were told by the guards to submit their questions in writing and come back another...

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