Iran Blames Bush
Sunni Shiite Clashes
Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor has an excellent piece interpreting the significance of the turmoil over the bombing of the Askariyah shrine in Samarra.
Shiites came out in the thousands all over the Shiite south on Wednesday to protest. Quoting Sunni Arab spokesmen, the wire services are saying 75 Sunni mosques have been attacked, with two burned to the ground and 3 Sunni clergymen assassinated, with 6 Sunni Arabs dead altoghether in the violence.
In the southern city of Kut, AP says, 3,000 protesters came out to rally against the United States and Israel.
AFP says that 10,000 people in East Baghdad converged on the office of Muqtada al-Sadr, chanting against “Wahhabis” and America.
‘ Large protests erupted in Shiite parts of Baghdad and in cities throughout the Shiite heartland to the south. In Basra, Shiite militants traded rifle and rocket-propelled grenade fire with guards at the office of the Iraqi Islamic Party. Smoke billowed from the building.
Shiite protesters later set fire to a Sunni shrine containing the seventh century tomb of Talha bin Obeid-Allah, companion of the Prophet Muhammad, on the outskirts of the southern city. Police found 11 bodies of Sunni Muslims, most of them shot in the head, in two neighborhoods of Basra, police Capt. Mushtaq Kadhim said. Two of the dead were Egyptians, Kadhim said.
Protesters in Najaf, Kut and Baghdad’s Shiite slum of Sadr City also marched through the streets by the hundreds and thousands, many shouting anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans and burning those nations’ flags. ‘
The hardline Shiite Mahdi Army has come out of Sadr City and is all over Baghdad. They are clashing with Sunnis in Basra.
Sunni leader Tariq al- Hashimi threatened reprisals for reprisal killings.
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim blamed the US for holding back the Badr Corps.
Grand Ayatollah Sistani called for nonviolent street protests that he must know won’t be nonviolent.
Iran is blaming Bush and the Israelis, which is ridiculous but already widely believed in Iraq and Iran.
The threat of terrorism and attacks on Americans just went way up.
A reader writes in:
‘ An hour ago [my Iraqi Shiite fried] recieved a call from Najaf. You know the Najaf boys are losing their heads over what happened.
No wonder. 80 years or so ago their relatives bought some land up there [at Samarra] and established Shia communities around the mosque and in Samarra. So the boys had been working there living there from time to time and some really settled down for good. A month or two ago lots of Shia were expelled, thrown out of town or scared off.
And now this.
They told B. how the demolition was carried out. You see, it was nothing like
a hipshot sneaking up bombing by night. It was meticulous, skilful piece of work,
taking a lot of time, the guards knowing all about what was going on. At least that´s what they told him today.
So now they all gather downtown Nejef rallying, preparing a gruesome revenge.
Sistani tries hard to stop them, they told him, but the boys won´t listen. They´re heading for Samarra. ‘