May 24, 2012

The Struggle to Succeed Ayatollah Sistani

Paul McGeough, Foreign Affairs

AP

As Sistani ages, a struggle to succeed him has begun, putting the spiritual leadership of one of the world's foremost faiths in play. But with neighboring Iran moving to install its preferred candidate in the position, the secular political foundations of Iraq's fledgling democracy are at risk. Consequently, what amounts to a spiritual showdown could pose a challenge to Washington's hope for postwar Iraq to serve as a Western-allied, moderate, secular state in the heart of the Middle East.

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TAGGED: Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, Najaf, Shiite, Iraq, Ali al-Sistani

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