Howdy, Pilgrim!
Posted by aogMonday, 23 August 2004 at 16:35 TrackBack Ping URL

Has anyone else wondered what will happen if the siege in Najaf drags on until the pilgrims from Iraq show up? I presume that officially the USA will be blamed for any delays or hardships because of the Iraqi government’s refusal to surrender to Al-Sadr but it’s still an open question what the actual pilgrims will think. Everything I’ve seen indicates that the inhabitants of Najaf generally blame Al-Sadr for the current troubles. Will they talk to the pilgrims and give them the same general opinion? Will that put any pressure on the Iranian mullahocracy to get Al-Sadr out of there? The problem for the mullahs is that if Al-Sadr leaves the shrine, he’s going to be dead, arrested or fled the country. None of those outcomes are good for Iran. There doesn’t seem to be any particular time for such piligrimages (as there is for the Hajj) so presumably some of this is happening already. Is Al-Sadr counting on pressure from such piligrims to force the Iraqi government to concede? That seems like a thin reed but it may be the best he has.