Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Civil War Unleashed

This picture says it all:

Well, maybe not everything.

Professor Cole explains why today will probably be remembered as the official beginning of civil war in Iraq.
...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 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.
So much for the wingnut meme that sectarian violence would be unleashed after we withdrew our troops. Looks like it arrived ahead of schedule.

[UPDATE] Riverbend has posted an update at Baghdad Burning with her take on the situation.
All morning we'’ve been hearing/watching both Shia and Sunni religious figures speak out against the explosions and emphasise that this is what is wanted by the enemies of Iraq- this is what they would like to achieve- divide and conquer. Extreme Shia are blaming extreme Sunnis and Iraq seems to be falling apart at the seams under foreign occupiers and local fanatics.

No one went to work today as the streets were mostly closed. The situation isn'’t good at all. I don'’t think I remember things being this tense- everyone is just watching and waiting quietly. There's so much talk of civil war and yet, with the people I know- Sunnis and Shia alike- I can hardly believe it is a possibility. Educated, sophisticated Iraqis are horrified with the idea of turning against each other, and even not-so-educated Iraqis seem very aware that this is a small part of a bigger, more ominous plan…

Several mosques have been taken over by the Mahdi militia and the Badir people seem to be everywhere. Tomorrow no one is going to work or college or anywhere.

People are scared and watchful. We can only pray.

(thanks to Duke1676 for the link)
I hope she's correct and some type of stability is maintained, but I'm not optimistic. For my Christian friends, this was analogous to someone blowing up the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem.

We have unleashed unspeakable horrors in the cradle of civilization. I'm speechless.

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