from Jihad Watch
“We support personal freedoms, but there are places that have a special status,” said Sheik Mazin Saadi, a Shiite cleric from Kazimiyah, home to the double gold-domed shrine that is one of Shiite Islam’s holiest sites.
He said the area’s residents lobbied Baghdad’s local government to ban unveiled women from walking around the neighborhood, including its sprawling open-air market that attracts people from across Iraq. “The women started to follow to this order,” Saadi said.
Shiite is the key word. Both areas are Shiite areas and Iraqi clerics are doing their part to turn parts of Iraq into Iran. With a government that is in thrall to Iran, there isn’t much of an obstacle to clerical power. And it goes deeper than clerical police. Iraq is Iran’s other ace in the hole for bypassing nuclear sanctions.
But the biggest story may be the coming showdown over Kurdish oil.
Iraq’s Kurds, who historically have resisted control by Arab-dominated central governments, are charting a course to independently develop and export oil reserves that the Kurdistan Regional Government estimates at 45 billion barrels — larger than BP’s estimate for the U.S. or Nigeria, Africa’s biggest producer.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Total SA (FP) are flouting warnings by the government against seeking separate deals with the Kurds, who have frequently clashed with Maliki’s government over who controls the northern oil and gas reserves.
Obama is backing the Shiites over the Kurds in the oil deal because of his usual impeccable instinct for finding the course of action most damaging to American interests and pursing it. But the Kurds aren’t about to give Obama veto power. And the Shiites want Kurdish oil for the same reason that Saddam purged Kirkuk. But with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard overcomitted in Syria, and Turkey also committed to Syria, the usual forces that would suppress the Kurds may be too busy fighting each other to help out.