"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

February 22, 2006

Juan Cole explains why yesterday's bombing of the Askariyah shrine in Samarra, Iraq, could spell a further escalation of violence in the Middle East (excerpt):

....Then real disaster struck. The guerriillas blew up the domed Askariyah shrine in Samarra. The shrine, sacred to Shiiites, honors 3 Imams or holy descendants of the Prophet. They are Ali al-Hadi, Hasan al-Askari, and his disappeared son Muhammad al-Mahdi. Thousands of Shiiites demonnstrated [sic] in Samarra and in East Baghdad, against this desecration.

The Twelfh Imam or Mahdi is believed by Shiites to have disappeared into a supernatural realm (just as Christians believe in the ascension of Christ) from which he will someday return. Some Shiites think his second coming is imminent.

Muqtada all-Sadr and his followers are among them. They are livid about this attack on the shrine of the Mahdi's father. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also a firm believer in the imminent coming of the Mahdi. I worry that Iranian anger will boil over as a result of this bombing of a Shiite millenarian symbol.

Both Sunnis and Americans will be blamed. Very bad.

Next to being an Iraqi civilian, the person I would least like to *be at this time is a U.S. soldier in Iraq. We've got to get our used and abused uniformed kids out as soon as possible. Three years ago Bush-war promised that Iraqis would be tossing flowers at our soldiers' feet. Instead they're tossing things that blow up.

(*or Ann Coulter)

No comments: