Bush praises Mosul, Najaf
Unrest in Kurdistan
President Bush in his speech on Thursday maintained that it was a good thing that about half of Ninevah province voted in the referendum on the new constitution. The Washington Post points out that Ninevah voted overwhelming against the constitution, and came within an hair’s breadth of helping defeat it altogether. This was a good thing? WaPo also points out that Bush instanced security progress in Najaf and Mosul as good news. But this is perverse. There was not much a security problem in Najaf until, in early April 2004, the US military suddently declared that it wanted to “kill or capture” Shiite religious nationalist Muqtada al-Sadr. The latter launched an uprising in the course of which the Mahdi Army took over Najaf. Bush provoked that. As for Mosul, it was quiet under Gen. Petraeus, unti Bush launched the Fallujah campaign of November, 2004, at which time security in Mosul collapsed. The local population was furious about the attack on Sunni Arabs. Mosul is still not back to being fairly safe.
Collapse in Kurdistan? From all accounts there is substantial political unrest in Kurdistan, with violence between the Kurdistan Democratic Party and a Kurdish Islamic party. Al-Zaman: The Kurdistan Islamic Union, led by Salah al-Din Muhammad Baha al-din said that on Tuesday 3 of its party workers had been killed in an attack on their party headquarters in the northern Dohuk province. One of the dead had been a candidate running for a seat in parliament. Many others were wounded. Two further party works were killed in Zakhu. Police, loyal to the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Massoud Barzani, looked on without attempting to protect these devotees of political Islam among the Kurds.
KarbalaNews.net is now carrying an article claiming to be from the office of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani saying that the communique urging believers to vote for the United Iraqi Alliance was fraudulent. Sistani had been refusing to endorse the UIA, but seemed suddently to reverse course late last week.
Al-Zaman: Seventy-nine Iranian pilgrims arrived in the Shiite shrine city of Karbala on Wednesday, under the protection of an Iranian government guard that was allowed to accompany them. At a moment when Iraq has closed its borders with the Arab states of Saudia Arabia, Jordan and Syria and refused to give entry permits to Arabs, the Iraqi government is welcoming in the Iranians for Shiite pilgrimage! Forget about all the British charges that Iran is destablizing Iraq. The Iraqi government clearly believes that it is the Arabs, not Iran, that form the danger.
I may blog more Thursday if I get the chance.