Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Kufa Bombing

The scene of today's bombing in Kufa after the the attackCrowds gather at the scene of today's bombing. Kufa is a bastion of support for Muqdata al-SadrToday's bombing in the holy city of Kufa for which casualties so far are is clearly aimed at enraging the Shia and weakening Muqdata al-Sadr it is the second major bombing attack there this month. understanding the context here is important so I'll repeat what I said back on July 6th.

"Kufa's one of three religiously important cities placed in a cluster south of Baghdad, it Najaf and Karbala are all in close proximity to one another.

It was founded by Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas (one of the companions of the prophet) at the same time as Basra and was the capital of 'Alī ibn Abī Tālib (Imam Ali.) Who was murdered there by Kharajites while he was performing morning prayers in the mosque.

The shrine is built over the tombs of Muslim ibn Aqil and Hani ibn Arwa beside it is Ali's headquarters protected by a very imposing wall.

The town itself is relatively poor. Muqdata al-Sadr has a considerable presence there and often preaches in Kufa." [link and emphasis added - mfi]

Today's bombing targeted local construction labourers not pilgrims, and followed the all-too-familiar pattern. Every town in Iraq has a spot, a particular marketplace, a square, a street corner, where people gather early each morning making themselves available for casual labour. The bomber lures his victims withing range by appearing to offer employment once they're within range he detonates his payload. As one might expect the local reaction was the same as that to the July 2nd al-Ula market bombing in Sadr city and for much the same reasons. Al-Sadr's movement is particularly popular amongst poor and disenfranchised Shia who believe that only he has an agenda to alleviate their economic and social plight. As at al-Ula residents vented their fury at the local police and demanded that the Mehdi militia take over security. The crowd stoned local police screaming at them that they were "traitors," "American agents" and "useless" police fired into the air to disperse the crowd. This attack is one of many aimed at al-Sadr the goal is to undermine his position. I sincerely hope that this campaign fails, despite what you may read in the western media al-Sadr has had considerable success in restraining his followers. Should that restraint weaken or fail the ensuing bloodletting will dwarf that seen so far.

Nearly 6,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq between May 1st and June 30th alone. [link is to PDF - mfi]


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