THE HIDDEN ASPECT OF IRANIAN MEDDLING IN IRAQ
Can be discerned in a key excerpt from the NYT:
"The leading Shiite cleric in southern Iraq is the Iranian-born Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sestani, who is 73, and whose base is in Najaf. Like many Iraqi clerics, he has a long record of opposition to what has become the Iranian model of Shiite jurisprudence, which grants clerics a pre-eminent political as well as religious role. "
The truth of the political matter is that the hard-line clerical -Pasdaran faction that rules Iran, headed by ex-President Rafsanjani and " Supreme Guide " Khameini is not only a political minority in the nation they rule but a minority sect among the Shiite religious establishment as well. A majority of the senior theologians of Shiism, the Grand Ayatollahs, disagree with the theocratic model of governance where public power is wielded exclusively by the clergy. Moreover, most of the " up and coming " ayatollahs of Shiism in Iran and Iraq do not adhere to Khameini's fascistic view of religious authority and even the regime's own followers - like the Ayatollah Taheri of Qom, have taken their disenchantment with the regime public.
A free Iraq would mean that the Arab Shiite Holy city of Karbala and the scholars of Najaf would return to their pre-Saddam prominence and authority among Shiite muslims and challenge the sectarian and totalitarian views of Iran's hardline rulers. Thus the impetus to meddle in Iraqi affairs is not merely motivated by the desire to contest with " The Great Satan " America but for Khameini and his crew to cling to power in their own demense; if necessary they will use violence, assassination and terrorism to maintain their shaky primacy.
The United States needs to put pressure on the regime in Teheran to respect human rights at home, speed democratic reforms and cease oppressing their own people. Pasdaran-trained infiltrators stirring up violence or threatening moderate Iraqi clergy should be imprisoned or expelled by occupation authorities and most importantly, Iraqi civil society should be given time to organize parties supporting a democratic and secular constitution.
An Iranian-backed Sharia dictatorship will come to Iraq only if we stand by and allow it. The Iranian dictatorship fears its own people and they need to be warned that regime change has many forms.