ELECTIONS IN IRAQ….There’s a long but interesting article in Wednesday’s Washington Post about the sudden change in plans earlier this month regarding Iraqi sovereignty and early elections. The proximate cause, says reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran, was indeed the escalating casualties during October and early November, but the underlying motivation for the about face was actually the fatwa issued in June by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani calling for general elections. Apparently Bremer and his team thought they could somehow work their way around the fatwa, but Sistani refused to budge and eventually the Americans figured out that they didn’t have much choice in the matter. Sistani was calling the shots.

The article is well worth reading, not just for its background but also for its implications about what Iraq will look like a year from now. Frankly, I can’t tell if it’s good or bad.