ELECTIONS IN IRAQ?….Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani still isn’t happy with the U.S. transition plans:

The statement by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani was made in response to written questions sent to his liaison office in London. While Iraqi politicians had reported elements of Sistani’s objections after meetings this week, Sistani had not publicly addressed the proposal, and the remarks represented his clearest statement yet on the plan.

….Officials with the U.S.-led occupation said that they would defer to the Governing Council to respond to Sistani and that the members would have to decide whether to follow through with the transition plan.

“It’s for them to decide whether they defend the agreement they signed, if they believe in this agreement as the best way forward for Iraq,” a senior official with the occupation authority said. “They’re going to have to answer these questions. They’re the political leaders of Iraq.”

This just gets weirder and weirder. Sistani was responding ? via London! ? to questions from a newspaper, not Bremer or the Governing Council. And the only response of the CPA is, essentially, “Whatever.”

It’s no surprise that Sistani is in favor of democracy, and the sooner the better, since Shiites would win control in any fair election, but I wonder what’s really going on over there? Does Bremer’s team have any contact at all with Sistani? Any leverage? Any control over political events at all?

Or is his only goal to get the hell out? As with so many things these days, I just can’t make sense out what the Bush administration is up to here. I feel like my IQ has dropped about 50 points in the past couple of months.

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