Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Significane of the Car bombing in Najaf

Today's bombing in Najaf is a very omninous development. It occurred about 300 yards from the Imam Ali shrine. Ali ibn Abi Talib (Imam Ali), whom the Shi'a consider to be their founder and the first Imam. As well as being a major theological center Najaf is a great center of pilgrimage from throughout the Islamic world. How great a center can be judged from the fact that only Mecca and Medina receive more pilgrims.

Attacks such as this are rare in Najaf, the city in which Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani lives and teaches , is heavily policed. The fact that the casualty figure from this bombing was relatively low by Iraqi standards shouldn't allow you to dismiss its significance. Any attack within Najaf is seen by Shiites as a severe provocation because of the city's status. Moreover tension is already high in Najaf apart from jostling for position between the various factions Najaf has recently seen an influx of Shiite refuges fleeing occupation fomented sectarian strife. They're not being looked after very well and resentment is growing. Couple this attack with incidents such as the recent blowing up of a Shiite mosque in Baquba, and what appears to have been an unusually heavy-handed raid by US troops in Kerbala [Arabic language link - mfi] against followers of the nationist politician Muqdata al-Sadr whom the US has repeatedly tried to kill and you have a recipe for a massive escalation in violence.

The United States and the UK are trying to stop an anti-American coalition led by al-Sadr and current Prime Minister brahim al-Jaafari from taking power in Baghdad. Readers will recall that that US forces and what appear to be one of their Kurdish militias recently raided a Shiite Mosque and Husaniyah in Baghdad to send a "little reality jab" and then tried to claim that the resulting pictures of unarmed corpses had been "staged."

While all of this is going on the US army continues to hand out beany dolls to show how nice they are. So that's all right best beloved do you see?


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