Journal of International and Global Studies


This paper explores the influence of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani on political developments in Iraq in the post-Saddam Husayn era and examines the discourse surrounding Sistani regarding his perceived activism or “quietism” with respect to political matters. The doctrine and statements of this most prominent Shi’i religious leader are analyzed and interpreted in the context of Iraq’s contemporary, often violent, history. Specifically, Sistani’s public statements during the run-up to the 2010 parliamentary elections and their aftermath are examined for the extent to which his voice resonates among the Iraqi people. The analysis reveals that Sistani demonstrates concern for the “ground rules” of the Iraqi political system. This research also demonstrates that Sistani’s involvement in shaping the course of Iraqi politics has evolved from one of complete non-interference in the Saddam Husayn era to one of selective activism today. Iraqi politicians and international actors currently seek Sistani’s intervention, particularly in periods of increased political instability, proving that his influence remains very present.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.