Iraq is at a crossroads, the path Iraqis take now will have far reaching consequences that will last for decades. Two men blew up the famous golden dome at the al-Askari shrine in Samarra, one of Iraq's four holiest Shia sites. You can imagine the Shia reaction, Iraq has never been closer to civil war. I can’t believe the Sunni could be so stupid to have done this. Unless they believe American forces will fight and die to protect them in case of a civil war they must know they will be annihilated. Moqtada al-Sadr was conveniently out of country but rushes back to play the avenging hero. A Sadr aide said: "If the Iraqi government does not do its job to defend the Iraqi people we are ready to do so." I suspect him, or Iran, or both. Who else stands to gain from an all out civil war? Al Qaeda certainly , but I don’t believe Al Qaeda did this because those butchers would not have tied up the guards and removed from them from harm's way. Mohammed at Iraq the Model reports that retaliatory strikes against Salafi and Wahabi mosques are organized, occurring mostly in areas adjacent to Sadr city, and with Sadr militias taking over some mosques. On 24 May 2004 Sadr militia were suspected of firing mortars at the Imam Ali shrine in order to drum up opposition to the coalition forces and he was willing to risk the shrine by using it as a base to launch attacks against the coalition. Why such disrespect for Islamic places of worship and holy sights should be tolerated by Muslims is puzzling to say the least, especially in light of the reaction to a few irreverent cartoons. As his militia attack and occupy mosques Sadr calls on the Iraqi people for "unity and solidarity so as to deny any opportunity to those who wish to ignite public turmoil”, so you see he is also a peacemaker. Despite his laying low for awhile Sadr has never supported a Democratic Iraq, he and his Iranian buddies want a Mullacracy with him in charge. US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has called for checks on sectarian militias such as Sadr’s but after the bombing the government seems to be leaning towards more militia presence. Even Sistani seems to agree stating “If the security apparatuses are unable to safeguard against this crisis, the believers are able to do so, by the aid of God.” Correct me if I’m wrong but this all seems to be playing into Sadr’s hand.
I have been a steadfast supporter of this Middle East experiment in Democracy but if Iraq goes down the path of civil war I’m all for pulling our forces into Southern Kurdistan and letting the Sunni and Shia have at it. Had the Iraqis let the United States Marine Corp take out Sadr when we had the chance they would not be in this position. This is what appeasement gets you. Leader of the powerful SCIRI Islamist party Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, whose Badr Corps militia have been held in check by the US, blames Khalilzad for the bombing because he encouraged Sunni insurgents with comments this week insisting that the new cabinet include Sunnis and other minorities. In a most bizarre disconnect from reality loudspeakers from mosques blare out “God is Great, death to America which brought us terrorism." We are responsible for the fact that Islamic religious intolerance goes on even between Islamic sects. In all fairness it may be more political intolerance than religious, remember Sadr militia murdered Shia Grand Ayatollah Abd al-Majid al-Khoi at a mosque in Najaf because he was his biggest rival. Sistani may be next. It gets discouraging trying to support a tolerant, secular Democracy amidst such circumstances, especially when part of the price for that support is the blood of our sons and daughters. No doubt this is what Sadr, al Qaeda, and Iran want, the American people pulling out and leaving Iraq to them, but if Iraqis keep this up then that may be exactly what they get.
Bill Roggio is back at The Fourth Rail and has an excellent analysis on how close Iraq is to civil war. It looks like despite Sadr’s best efforts this might be avoided. LGF reports the Iranian Madman is blaming the US and Israel. Muslim Brotherhood front man Sheik Youssef al-Qaradawi is saying the same thing.
“No one benefits from such acts other than the US occupation and the lurking Zionist enemy.”Sure pal.