Rash of Mosque Bombings
Samarra’i Demands Banning of Shiite Militias
Qubanji accuses AMS of al-Qaeda Ties
Reuters reports on the violence in Iraq on Friday:
‘In the village of Tal Banat near Mosul, a car bomb outside a mosque killed six and wounded 46, police said. Around the same time, a mortar attack and a car bomb killed five people and wounded nine near two Sunni mosques in Baghdad. A roadside bomb near a Sunni mosque in Baquba wounded seven. ‘
Al-Hayat says that, in addition, [Ar.] one Sunni cleric was kidnapped and another assassinated.
The faith-based civil war toward which the guerrilla movement in Iraq has been working is beginning to roll along, though it is possible that some of these attacks were guerrilla provocations.
US troops also clashed with a splinter element of the Mahdi Army and captured “a high level” insurgent leader; it is unclear whether this was Abu Deraa.(-Update) Al-Hayat says that fierce fighting took place in Sadr City, with 40 persons wounded or killed. It says that Abu Deraa is accused of being behind the kidnapping of Taysir al-Mashhadani, the female Sunni member of parliament, last Saturday. It says that Muqtada al-Sadr had in the past imposed punishments on Abu Deraa for his disobedience and that the US suspects he has formed a splinter group.
Al-Hayat reports that the Friday prayers preachers traded accusations. Shaikh Abdul Ghafur al-Samarra’i (Sunni) warned that “Baghdad will be consumed by a conflagration” if the government did not put an end to the Shiite militias. He reported that the prayer leader at the Ibn Taymiyah Mosque in West Baghdad, Shaikh `Ala’, had been kidnapped, and that Iraqi security forces had opened fire on Shaikh Sa’id Muhammad Taha al-Samarra’i, the prayer leader at the Grand Mosque of Mahmudiyah, killing him, after they stopped him at a roadside checkpoint. He said that Mahdi Army elements had forced the prayer leader of the Halimah Saadiyah Mosque to flee for his life, leaving his house and all his possessions behind. He concluded, “What is happening on Iraqi soil, including massacres, and affronts to female honor, is unlike anything ever witnessed in history.” (He was referring to the Mahmudiyah rape/murder case in which a US servicemean was chared). Al-Hayat said that his sermon was “severe in its tone.”
In Najaf, SCIRI preacher Sadr al-Din Qubanji accused the (hard line Sunni) Association of Muslim Scholars of having links to Usamah Bin Laden, and he called on the government to open an investigation of this matter. [Al-Qubanji is being extremely provocative here, and there may be trouble about this.) Al-Qubanji said it was suspicious that Bin Laden called for the killing of Shiite clerics in Iraq, and other clerics cooperating with the new regime, but exempted from his condemnation the Sunni organization, the Association of Muslim Scholars, and, indeed, mentioned Shaikhs, al-Dhari, al-Kubaisi and al-Faydi by name.
Rod Nordland of Newsweek says that one reason the American public is so clueless as to how bad it is in Iraq is that the Bush administration is good at spinning news. Also, he says, the Pentagon is helping it by screening embeds for their past reporting and excluding those who’ve written critically.
Iraqi television is as splintered on sectarian grounds as its politics, according to CSM.
The plot hatched in internet chatter by al-Qaeda wannabes, which the FBI had been monitoring and which the New York Daily News revealed on Friday, had an Iraq dimension. Al-Qaeda sympathizers in Iraq and Pakistan were part of the internet chatting on attacking New York. The Arabic newspapers are speculating that the al-Zarqawi network (which had threatened to hit the US homeland in retaliation for its military actions in Iraq) was part of the plot.
BBC Monitoring praphrases the Iraqi press for July 6:
‘ Al-Sabah carries on page 1 a 300-word report citing Muqtada al-Sadr denouncing the recent statement by Bin Laden to fight the Shi’is. Al-Sadr also adds that he has suspended the work of his offices in Iraq. . . ‘
Al-Bayyinah al-Jadidah carries on the front page a 420-word editorial by Muhammad Bahr-al-Ulum severely denouncing the US violations against Iraqi people, especially the rape of a girl and the killing of her and her family by US soldiers in Al-Mahmudiyah. . .
Al-Da’wah carries on the front page a 450-word report commenting on Nuri al-Maliki’s successful visit to some Arab gulf countries. The report cites sources from Al-Sadr Bureau saying that Shi’i families are being displaced from Samarra, Diyala, and western Baghdad.
Al-Da’wah carries on the front page a 300-word report citing Nuri al-Maliki saying that Arab gulf countries have pledged to take tougher measures to prevent financing armed groups in Iraq. . .
Al-Da’wah carries on the front page an 80-word report citing Falah Hasan Shunayshil, leader of Al-Sadr Bloc in the parliament, saying that the National Reconciliation Initiative will succeed if “occupation” forces withdraw from Iraq. He added that he sides with any initiative to stop violence in Iraq. . .
Al-Istiqamah carries on the front page a 500-word editorial entitled ‘No Alternative for Southern and Central Federal Blocs.’ . .
Al-Sabah al-Jadid publishes on the front page a 300-word report entitled “Al-Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr Orders To Close Martyr Al-Sadr Bureaus in All Governorate”. . .
Al-Sabah runs on page 3 a 100-word report citing Karbala Governor Aqil al-Khaz’ali accusing Facility Protection Service members of cooperating with gangs. . .
Al-I’tisam on 4 July carries on the front page a 100-word report that the security situation in Karbala is getting worse. The report adds that 95 bodies were found in the first half of this year. . .
Al-Sabah runs on pages 8 and 9 a 2,400-word report on the suffering of Iraqi youths because of unemployment.
Al-Zaman publishes on page 1 an 800-word report on the aggravation of the fuel crisis.
Al-Zaman carries on page 2 a 1,000-word report on the smuggling of Iraqi antiquities.
Al-Zaman runs on page 3 a 700-word report citing the comments of a number of Iraqi dealers on their inability to transport their goods to Iraqi markets due to security conditions. . . .