Two good pieces on why Shia clerics such as Ayatollah Sistani, who is opposing a US proposal for indirect elections, are key power brokers and a potentially divisive force. Both are by noted Arabist journalists -- Anthony Shadid and Nicholas Blanford.
The Arabist is published and edited by Issandr El Amrani, a writer and analyst based in Cairo, with contributions by friends.
The Arabist is a labor of love. We don't make much from ads, so please contribute to keep us going.