Dhari, Amiri trade Charges
Sunni-Shiite relations in Iraq at Nadir
Al-Zaman/AFP/Reuters: “The Association of Muslim Scholars called upon Minister of the Interior Bayan Jabr and Defense Minister Saadoun Dulaimi to resign. AMS leader Hareth al-Dhari essentially laid the responsibility for the kidnapping and killing of Sunni clerics at the feet of Mr. Jabr, a member of the Shiite Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The AMS communique said Jabr and Dulaimi bore full responsibility for the iniquitous behavior of employees of their ministries toward Sunni clerics. It is alleged that kidnappers of Shaikh Hasan Hadi al-Nu`aimi and others were wearing Interior Ministry uniforms. The Iraqi government alleges that any uniforms used in such an operation were stolen or counterfeit, and that the deaths are the work of guerrillas attempting to foment civil strife.
The news conference at which Hareth al-Dhari, the strict Sunni cleric, launched his accusations against the Badr Corps as being behind the recent kidnappings and assassinations, was also attended by two other major Sunni leaders. One, Adnan Dulaimi, is the head of the Sunni Pious Endowments Board. The other is the leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party.
Dulaimi said, “We do not want public turmoil, and we emphasize the brotherhood of Islm. But we will not stand by with our arms crossed while prayer leaders at mosques are killed.” He called for a three-day closure of Sunni mosques in Iraq beginning after Friday prayers this weekend, to protest the killings.
Later on Wednesday, Hareth al-Dhari went head to head with the leader of the Badr Organization, Hadi al-Amiri. Al-Amiri noted that al-Dhari had promised to ensure that the car bombings ended if the US would set a timetable for withdrawal. Al-Amiri wanted to know how close al-Dhari was to the guerrilla movement, such that he could make such a promise.
On Wednesday, 7 bodies of Turkmen from Kirkuk, working in Amiriyah, were discovered. A car bomb near Baiji killed 2 Irai policemen. In Samarra, US troops surrounded the firehouse and arrested six policemen who were inside it, without giving any reason for the arrests. In Baqubah, a car bomb was detonated in from of the local ministry of education builoding, wounding 18 persons, 14 of them police.
Zaid al-Ali laments “The End of Secularism” in Iraq, which was once perhaps the most secular Arab society.
Howard LaFranchi wonders if Iraq will be more like El Salvador or Colombia. The former went back to parliamentary politics after a nasty episode of reprisal killings, whereas Colombia has settled into a routine of narco-terrorist control of parts of the country.