Sistani Calls For Unity Grand

Sistani Calls for Unity

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani called Friday “unity and solidarity among all Iraqis despite the attacks targeting the innocent.” He was referring to the horrific bombing of a Shiite funeral in Mosul. Weeping relatives held small family wakes for the dead, avoiding a large mass funeral that might again be targeted by a suicide bomber. The Shiite mosque, near which the original attack occured, took mortar fire on Friday, according to al-Hayat. The same source says that Sistani’s statement called on the security apparatus in Iraq “to shoulder their responsibilities with regard to safeguarding the innocent in all Iraq’s cities.”

The Sunni preacher at the Abu Hanifa Mosque in Baghdad, Shaikh Ahmad Hasan Taha, condemned the suicide bombing. He said, “Last week, we were deploring the massacre in the city of Hilla of our Iraqi brethren, and today terrorists undertook this attack, which is even a worse crime and a more awful scandal.” He blamed the attacks in part on a hidden foreign hand.

Likewise, the Association of Muslim Scholars denounced the bombing, but tried to use it to discredit the Americans and interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, whom the AMS considers responsible for the lack of security in the country: ‘ “We strongly denounce the bombings and assassinations that killed innocent people,” Sheik Mahmoud al-Sumaidei, a member of the influential Association of Muslim Scholars, told worshippers. “Both the occupation and the Iraqi government shoulder the responsibility of this blood.” ‘ Al-Hayat says that al-Sumaidei said the Mosul bombing was part of a conspiracy that began with the American occupation to marginalize one religious community at the expense of another.” He condemned the suicide bombing, along with the practice of some Muslims declaring the others infidels, or purging other Muslims, or assassinating them.”

Al-Hayat reports that two Friday prayers preachers from the Sadr movement called for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq “immediately and unconditionally,” just as American calls for Syria to depart Lebanon.

Michael Schwartz’s analysis of the guerrilla resistance in Iraq is well worth reading. He concludes that by now it is primarily made up of loose cells consisting of local Arab nationalists who object to the US military presence, and that the Baath and foreign jihadi elements are less important than the local irregulars. I think he underestimates the continued role of Baath military intelligence, but his picture is generally plausible, and certainly closer to reality than the things we hear from the Department of Defense.

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