Cleric Opposes Rebaathification

Sistani rejects law aimed at quelling Sunni insurgency
By Greg Atwan,  Newser User
Posted Apr 3, 2007 8:17 AM CDT
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki supports rolling back debaathification   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A bill allowing Saddam's party members back into power in Iraq has been rejected by that country's most powerful cleric. The law, aggressively  pushed by the U.S.,  would  allow former low-level Baathists--most of them Sunnis--to hold positions in government. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the powerful Shiite cleric, dismissed the law through an aide, who cited a "general feeling of rejection."

The reclusive Sistani rarely makes such proclamations, and this one is certain to fuel more violence. The draft law has already sparked attacks that killed 59 Iraqis and three coalition soldiers today. Shiites welcomed the purging of Baathists initiated by Paul Bremer in 2003, but America's senior envoy says rolling it back will help quiet the Sunni insurgency.