Samarra Shrine Attacked
The Golden Dome or Askariya Shrine in Samarra had its minarets blown up on Wednesday. The shrine is among the holiest in the Shiite world, dedicated to the father and grandfather of the hidden Twelfth Imam. Millenarian Shiites believe that the hidden Imam will one day return to restore the world to justice and herald the Judgment Day (i.e. he is like the second coming of Christ for Christians).
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani called for restraint. Muqtada al-Sadr called for three days of mourning and blamed the US for being behind the attack. Muqtada likes conspiracy theories. Then Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad joined in with the conspiracy, addressing Washington and saying, “You, by supporting these actions, are making it harder for yourselves.”
US officials blamed “al-Qaeda.” But it is just the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement or rather one of its cells, which is trying to throw the country into turmoil as an insurgency strategy.
Ahmadinejad’s reaction demonstrates how dangerous it is for the US to remain the occupying power in a country full of crucial Shiite shrines. If the US cannot protect them, it will be blamed for the desecration, and Americans will be much less safe.
This is what I said about the February, 2006, bombing of the shrine, which sent Iraq spiralling down into civil war.