RITING ON THE WALL:
Had the following cogent comment about Iraqi Shiites in response to the Tom Friedman column:
Friedman wrote: "This is the most important power struggle in the Middle East today. For now, the Iraqi Shiite clergy in Najaf are weak. They don't have many senior clerics. I kept it that way. But you can't just install your own Iraqi Shiite leaders. They will have to emerge on their own. You need to create the conditions in Najaf whereby students can come back and the natural Iraqi-Arab Shiite traditions can flower again to counter the Iranians."
easier said than done, mind you, but he's right. the seminaries need to be up and running even faster than the government. this will serve a dual purpose: first, laying the groundwork for a new generation of shi'a clerics not trained in qom that follow afghani more closely than, say, khomeini and, second, it will distract those pesky clerics who apparently do want to run things right now. they'll have to play academic politics. and god knows that takes enough time and energy that you can't possibly run a country simultaneous to it.