Obama asks Sistani to help settle Iraqi government crisis

President Obama has sent a letter to Iraq’s top Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, urging him to prevail upon Iraq’s squabbling politicians to finally form a new government, an individual briefed by relatives of the reclusive religious leader said Thursday…

The Sistani-linked source said the letter was sent shortly after Vice President Joseph Biden visited Baghdad over the July 4 weekend and failed to bring about a resolution of the dispute. Biden said at the time that he was “optimistic” that a new government would be formed and that the problems Iraq faced were “not a lot different” than that facing other countries with parliamentary systems.

However, no apparent progress has occurred.