The Magazine

Who Speaks for Iraqi Shiites?

Not Iran's ayatollahs.

Dec 17, 2007, Vol. 13, No. 14 • By NATHANIEL RABKIN
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In 2003, many expected Iraq's Shiite population to fall under the shadow of Iran's clerical government. But the opposite has happened. Far from handing the country over to Iran's rulers, the liberation of Iraq has created an independent Shiite religious leadership that provides genuine competition to Iran's turbaned dictatorship. The star of Najaf is rising, and it can be seen clearly in the skies of Tehran.

Nathaniel Rabkin is a researcher at the Institute for the Study of War.