*The stockpiling of arms in mosques has been denounced on Coalition radio in Iraq according to AFP/az-Zaman. The broadcast condemned the desecration of holy places in this way and pointed out that attacks on coalition forces with such heavy weapons typically injures innocent Iraqi civilians, as well. US troops in Falluja recently came under fire from a Sunni mosque there, e.g. There have also been reports of Shiite militias in East Baghdad stockpiling weapons in mosques. The US is attempting to impose heavy fines and imprisonment on any Iraqis who carry arms in the streets, but so far the collection of weapons program has not been a success.
*Shaikh Kadhim al-Ibadi of the Shiite al-Muhsin Mosque in Baghdad called again last Friday for Iraqi opposition to continued US occupation, and charged that Jews were coming to Iraq to buy up houses and property; he ordered Iraqis not to sell their property at this time. (There is no evidence for this odd charge.) But he also discouraged Shiites from assassinating former Baathists and simply taking their property. Similar calls for opposition to US presence were raised in Sunni mosques in Falluja.
*Predictably, the ‘group of seven’ largely expatriate parties that had originally expected to have Iraq turned over to them are loudly protesting Paul Bremer’s decision instead to appoint an interim council of thirty. Bremer is right to sideline the corrupt Ahmad Chalabi, but his manner of proceeding is calculated to undermine the legitimacy of continued US control of Iraq.
*The American civilian administration has appointed the first Iraqi security chief since the fall of the Baath, according to Asharq al-Awsat. Subhi Faraj Ayish is the brother of a Baath leader killed by Saddam in his 1979 coup. He was soon thereafter transfered to Basra and then disappeared. You know, I have a bad feeling about former Baathists returning at the head of the Security Apparatus, no matter how much they now hate Saddam or how long they have been in the opposition. If I were a Shiite or a Kurd, I would be absolutely outraged by this appointment.