RealNews

Secular Leaders Worry That, Torn by Turmoil, Iraqis Will Elect an Islamic Theocracy

For many Iraqi officials, an unspoken fear hovers like a wraith in the background of every debate over the popular elections that are supposed to take place here in June. It is that the Iraqi people — roiled by the fall of a brutal dictatorship, followed immediately by subjugation to a sometimes bumbling occupation force — will elect a theocratic Islamic government. When Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq, spoke out a week ago, calling for full national elections instead of the caucus-style balloting envisioned in the American plan for self-rule, most secular politicians concluded that he hoped the voters would elect a theocracy. At least 60 percent of the nation is Shiite, after all. Full Story

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