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The Washington Post reports that Sunni Clerics Offer their "cooperation" with the new government in Iraq:
Leading Sunni Muslim clerics who boycotted Sunday's elections said Wednesday that they would "respect the choice of those who voted" and work with a new government, even though they considered the election invalid.
Didn't Barbara Boxer say the same thing right before the Condoleezza Rice confirmation hearings?
The statement, issued by the Association of Muslim Scholars, contained renewed criticism of the election but appeared to suggest that the influential Sunni group wants to be included in the formation of a new government. Ballots from Sunday's vote, which are still being counted, are widely expected to show light turnout in Sunni-populated areas and result in correspondingly low Sunni representation in Iraq's new National Assembly.
Actually, the Association of Muslim Scholars has been given much credence by the press, with statements like this appearing frequently in election coverage:
The clerics' withdrawal from the election had threatened to undermine the legitimacy of the vote. Their decision, and threats aimed at Sunnis by opponents to the ballot, sharply dampened turnout in some Sunni areas.
But this group has been reported on here previously, last October in fact, first here and then a follow up here. This "influential group" needs a little more exposure from the media, in addition to the current fawning coverage they receive.
For instance, perhaps paragraphs like these shouldn't be buried quite as deeply as they are in this story:
The clerics said the expected low Sunni turnout confirmed their position that the election, held while foreign troops were in Iraq, was illegitimate. "We make it clear to the United Nations and the international community that they should not get involved in granting this election legitimacy, because such a move will open the gates of evil," the statement said.
Speaking of gates of evil,
Meanwhile, a statement purportedly made by Osama bin Laden's top deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, said holy war, not "rigged elections," was the only path for reform in Islamic nations, the Associated Press reported. The written statement, said to have been the transcript of a taped speech by Zawahiri, first appeared on several Internet sites Tuesday.