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Iraq's Premiership Race36:05
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photoThe Iraqi Interim Vice President, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, moved a big step closer to becoming the country's Prime Minister yesterday with Ahmed Chalabi withdrawing from the running. Jaafari's main obstacle now is the current Prime Minister, Ayed Allawi, who is engaged in a feverish, last-ditched effort to gain enough votes to keep the post.

Al-Jaafari's Dawa Party is Islamist and dedicated to the establishment of Sharia law in Iraq, which has caused some anxiety among the country's secularists and the U.S. But recent statements by Jaafari indicate that he is, at least rhetorically, in favor of building a secular government.

Hear about the race for prime minister in Iraq and what a Jaafari premiership would mean for that country, the U.S. and the region.

Guests:

Jackie Spinner, a correspondent for the Washington Post;

Judith Yaphe, Iraq specialist at the National Defense University in Washington DC, former CIA Middle East Specialist (1975-1995) in the Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis.;
Khaled Abou El Fadle, professor of Islamic Law at UCLA Law School and author of "Islam and the Challenge of Democracy."

This program aired on February 23, 2005.

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