Check out this embedded report from the New Zealand Herald.
They are not interested in General Jay Garner, the rumbustious former missile contractor, who - 240km further down the Euphrates - was chairing the first meeting of selected Iraqi opposition groups. Objecting to his role, the largest Shiite party, the Iran-based Supreme Council for the Revolution in Iraq, refused to go to the event.
And they have nothing good to say about Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi businessman, convicted fraudster and favourite of the Pentagon hawks. After decades in exile, he was last week spirited into Nasiriyah by United States forces, where he has since formed his own militia.
This doesn't bode well for democracy so far...
"Iraq has to be run by people from Iraq - people who lived in Iraq and not from the outside," said one of the crowd, Favel Mohammed Roda, a fiery-eyed man in a long white robe. "And then Americans must get out." The others all shouted agreement.
It is a message that has to be taken seriously. Iraq's Shiite community is seething ominously.
It is consumed by fears about its place in the new Iraq. Being the majority, the Shiites talk hopefully of democracy, but are haunted by suspicions that conspiracies are afoot to split their ranks.
This article is a must read. Follow the link, check it out. We are going to have many problems in helping to establish a democracy if we can't get the Shiites involved. Ignoring them is not a realistic option. I sure hope a plan has been drawn up for this contingency. I can't see how it can be considered unexpected.