It really does not matter what Chimpy says about Iraq, his words carry no meaning there.
A letter from President Bush to Iraq’s supreme Shiite spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, was hand-delivered earlier this week but sits unread and untranslated in the top religious figure’s office, a key al-Sistani aide told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The aide who has never allowed use of his name in news reports, citing al-Sistani’s refusal to make any public statements himself said the ayatollah had laid the letter aside and did not ask for a translation because of increasing “unhappiness” over what senior Shiite leaders see as American meddling in Iraqi attempts to form their first, permanent post-invasion government.
The al-Sistani aide said Shiite displeasure with U.S. involvement was so deep that dignitaries in the holy city of Najaf refused to meet Khalilzad on Wednesday during ceremonies commemorating the death of the Prophet Muhammad. The Afghan-born Khalilzad is a Sunni Muslim.
Elizabeth Colton, the U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, said Khalilzad had not sought any meetings and simply flew over Najaf and the nearby holy city of Karbala to witness the big processions of Shiite faithful marking the day.