36 Killed in Civil War Violence
Al- Karbala’i Backs Militias
The small foreign Salafi terror group in Iraq had called on Thursday for more attacks on Americans in Iraq. Many Iraqi Sunni sermonizers distanced themselves from that call at Friday prayers. In Baghdad, a traffic ban was instituted to forestall car bombings of mosques while congregations were worshipping. AFP adds,
In his sermon, though, [Sunni Shaikh Zakariya] Tamimi [of the Ibn Taymiyah Mosque] railed against an Iraqi government that could not be trusted while Shia militias roamed the streets killing Sunnis, asking the administration “to heal itself”.
For his part, the Shia cleric Ahmed al-Safi al-Karbalayi said in his sermon at Karbala’s Imam Hussein shrine that militias would remain necessary as long as the government could not protect its own people.
“Arms should be put in the hands of the state and the state should be able to protect the citizen, otherwise popular organizations shall be formed to defend themselves,” he said.
Al-Karbala’i is an aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, and if he is talking this way about militias, it is a bad, bad sign.
The Al-Arabiyah satellite channel protested its banning from Iraq, and the move was generally condemned by Arab publics outside Iraq. The Khalij Times reports:
‘ “Initially they banned Al Jazeera, and now Al Arabiya. It shows that the Americans want to keep what goes on in Iraq a hush-hush affair. The Iraqi government seems like just a tool in the hands of Americans. Now the Arab world lost the chance to know what is exactly happening in Iraq,” said Ali Muhammed, an Iraqi national.
“When a Danish daily published blasphemous cartoons, the Western media branded it as freedom of expression. Why all of them shut their mouth now?” he asked.
Ahmed Rafeeq, a Lebanese national, said: “I am sure the Iraqi government closed down Al Arabiya office as part of a US plan. They do not want the truth to come out.
“The best way they found is to close down the Arabic channels which talk against them.”
“The Arab world definitely lost the chance to get the true stories on Iraq war now. All the Western media which report pro-US stories have no ban imposed on them,” he pointed out. ‘
Oliver Poole discusses the dangers to Iraqi national unity in Abdul Aziz al-Hakim’s proposal for a nine-province superstate in the Iraqi south.
Sheikh Muhammad Baqir Nasiri of Nasiriyah in the Iraqi south said Friday that federalism (setting up big federated regions rather than having smaller states) is permitted in Islam. He is identified as connected to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who is reported to be unhappy with the move toward federal regions.
14 bodies showed up dead in Baghdad streets on Friday.
I count 22 dead in political violence (the toll from the mortar attack on Shiite pilgrims has risen to 8) on Friday, and another 14 showing up at dead bodies, for 36 dead.
A major Sunni tribal leader was assassinated Friday near Hawija. He had announced support of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s project for national reconciliation.
Iran captured some Iraqi troops on the border Friday. The Iraqi account is that they were trying to stop an Iranian officer from engaging in weapons smuggling.
A Senate intelligence report reconfirms that there was no relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, nor between him and Abu Musab Zarqawi.
Actually, the US Government released a document showing that Iraqi intelligence became positively alarmed about reports that al-Qaeda might be in Iraq, and put out an APB on them! (The URL for that document set at Ft. Leavenworth no longer works; I’d appreciate it if any reader has an update).
Senator Pat Roberts, chair of the intelligence committee, actually went so far as to say of his own committee’s report that there was no evidence that Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress knowingly provided false information to the US government, nor that it was acted on. Roberts’ philosophy seems to be that you might as well deny it all, there is no percentage in admitting the truth.
Intriguingly, the report says that the Defense Intelligence Agency warned the Pentagon off the INC on the grounds that it had been penetrated by a foreign intelligence agency, which might be using it to play the US.
The foreign country that had penetrated Chalabi’s group? Iran.
What is really delicious is that it suggests that the influential Neoconservatives at the American Enterprise Institute who ceaselessly promoted Chalabi, like Richard Perle, David Rhode, and Michael Rubin, were duped by Tehran into doing its bidding.
Michael Hirsh: Bush’s Rhetoric Unclear. Well done. But it also shows the disconnect between rhetoric and actual policy.