Iraq: Shiite and Sunni Muslims struggle to fill leadership void

Anti-American protests in Iraq, such as the April 28 incident in Fallujah that left an estimated 15 Iraqis dead, should not come as a surprise to Washington.
Most Iraqis don’t share the US vision of a reconstructed Iraq resting on a foundation of Western-style democracy. For many, the end of Saddam Hussein’s regime has prompted a yearning for a religious and cultural revival, raising the prospect of an Islamic state based on conservative Shiite beliefs.
Although it appears certain that Iraq is set for a revival of Islamic values, at present there remains ample room for religious developments to move in many directions. The revival could move towards the recognition of Iraq’s Islamic legacy while making it compatible with greater freedom, economic development and openness to the outside world. Such is the approach taken by President Hamid Karzai’s administration in Afghanistan.