Monday, February 27, 2006

The Samarra Shrine And Shia Mischief

Iraq Depresses Jesus Too - From Michelangelo's Pieta - DC/MG

By now, everyone who is familiar with the situation in Iraq, whatever Media they retrieve their information from, is aware of the Bombing of the Shrine of Imam Hasan al-Askari , which like an exfoliated onion, saw layers of its golden dome peeled off in great chunks by an explosion or two.

The Shrine is one of the most sacred Shia landmarks, and as noted by Ian Wood commenting at the Belmont Club, was the final resting place for the 11th Imam (Hasan al-Askari) (who) was the father of the 12th Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi...the same al-Mahdi whose whose Return Iranian President Ahmadinejad apparently thinks will be hastened by his acquisition of nuclear weapons.

He goes on to further tell us:
The al-Askari mosque also houses a slightly smaller, more elaborately decorated domed shrine called Maqam Ghaybat, which was supposedly built over the cellar into which the Imam Mahdi disappeared before his occultation (hence his attribution, the "Hidden" Imam) in 873. As far as I can tell from photos, that dome is intact.

As one would expect, the reaction to the Shrine's attack has been fast and furious among the Iraqi and other Bloggers. So much information and opinions pouring forth, that it is almost impossible to keep up with events on the ground in Iraq.

Zeyad has provided the best and most intense-laden coverage of the aftermath, including details of his own neighborhood being threatened by the mysterious "Men In Black", likely members of Mahdi's Army, Muqti al-Sadr's gang of thugs, louses and ruffians:

Fierce streetfighting at my doorstep for the last 3 hours. Rumor in the neighbourhood is that men in black are trying to enter the area. Some armed kids defending the local mosque three blocks away are splattering bullets at everything that moves, and someone in the street was shouting for people to prepare for defending themselves...My father and uncle are agitatedly walking back and forth in the hallway, asking me what we should do if the mob or Interior ministry forces try to attack us in our homes? I have no answer for them.

UPDATE: Apparently, the attackers were fended off in our neighbourhood. The fight ended about 2 hours ago, about the same time electric power returned to our area. Now we are only hearing sporadic gunshots here and there...

Zeyad emerged safe, but the Mosques are taking a beating:
In Karbala, a remote controlled car bomb explosion killed 4 civilians and injured 10 close to a popular market, according to police officials. A suspect was arrested at the scene with no further details.

In Buhriz, south of Ba'quba, gunmen broke into a Shi'ite residence and killed 13 men from one family, Ba'quba police said.

Two rockets were fired at a Shi'ite mosque in Tuz Khurmatu, a Shi'ite Turkomen town northeast of Baghdad.

The Salman Al-Farisi shrine in Madain, southeast of Baghdad, still occupied by Interior ministry forces was bombed with mortars. Madain residents say the town has been blocked for the last 3 days and dozens of people have been detained. They sent an urgent appeal to the Iraqi government to intervene.

The Anas bin Malik shrine in Shu'ayba, west of Basrah was attacked and vandalized. My old friends in Basrah have confirmed this over the phone. Things are now quiet in the Sunni towns of Zubair and Abu Al-Khasib, south of Basrah. Sadr's followers continue to demonstrate, but in general, things appear to have calmed down there.

Unconfirmed news of Mahdi militiamen in pickup trucks crawling on the capital from areas south of Baghdad yesterday, despite the daytime curfew. Last they were heard of was in Mahmoudiya. clashes erupted in Hor Rijab, a rural area south of Dora, this morning...

Uncomfirmed news of black clad militiamen, accompanied by Interior ministry forces, spreading in several areas of Abu Dshir, south of Dora, near the Al-Kadhimain Husseiniya, led by an individual named Sa'di Al-Wahsh (Sa'di the monster).

And Zeyad questions the Iraqis Madness:
What kind of nation are we? What kind of nation kills its intellectuals and academics, its doctors and healers, its women and children, its clerics and preachers? What kind of nation blows up churches and mosques, hotels and schools, funerals and weddings? We have left nothing sacred. Yet we have the insolence to accuse others of offending us, of vilifying us. I announce today that we have proved ourselves worthy of that vilification. Ten years ago, I denounced religion and disavowed Islam. I do not want to be forced to disavow my country and nation today, but with every new day, I'm afraid I am getting closer to it.

Zeyad The Busy has everything from Reports and Maps of Assaulted Mosques to photos of the Mysterious Men in Black to the Shrine and its clean up...and a whole lot more.

But how accurate is Zeyad's coverage. Wretchard from the Belmont Club provides his own analysis of it:

It's probably good to treat Zeyad's report as a series of unconfirmed reports which are being reported verbatim. What can we say for sure or nearly sure?
Mosques are a focus of fighting
The fighting in his neighborhood has ended for now.
The authorities are trying to keep the lid on
Reported incident casualties are fairly low.
What can we say as probable?
There are small groups racing around fighting actions against each other.
What's a maybe?
Maybe some units of the National Guard are doing their job
Maybe some units of the Interior Ministry are in cahoots with militias
Overall what would be reasonable to conclude? There's some unrest, but Baghdad is not burning -- yet -- and the trends while still unclear are not clearly in the direction of all-out fighting.

Elrod commenting at Zeyad's takes issue with Wretchard's assessment:

Take what Wretchard says with a huge grain of salt. If everything he said was true then Iraq would be the shining beacon of peaceful democracy and civil liberty the world over. He's a consommate pollyanna if there ever was one. There is simply no way to know what's going on in Iraq right now, not to mention what will happen once the total lockdown is lifted. Only bits and pieces of human turmoil and trial.

Omar and Mo are also doing a good job of providing local coverage of the Iraqi Religious Riots with the ITM Boys slightly trailing Zeyad in quality output, but covering a wide range of issues and events.

In this blurb, Omar showcases the duplicity of the political parties:
The Sadr trend holds two meetings with Sunni leaders; one on the clerical level with the Association of Muslim Scholars and the other on the political level with the Accord Front.
A couple of joint press releases were made after the meetings in which the two parties made calls for unity among Iraqis and condemned all kinds of attacks on mosques and civilians.
In both cases the US and Iraqi authorities were blamed for the escalating situation.
Ironically, these are the very two factions believed responsible for the greatest deal of the violence in the past few days!

Meanwhile Hassan tells us what he believes was the reason for the attack:
I believe that the reason for such an attack, is an attempt to stir up civil war, between the Shias and Sunnis. In addition, of course, Al-Sadr is not helping at all. His militias are already calling for revenge, and raiding Sunni mosques. Someone should tell him that Sunnis condemned these attacks, and that no one has claimed responsibility yet, why should he presume it is Sunnis. Does he not notice that he is falling into the plain trap laid in front of him?

Sam the Hammorabi Guy who allegedly in a pique of anger
over being slammed by about 90 percent of his commenters for his stance on the U.S. Ambassador's actions in Iraq, closed his commenting section -- Sam, if you have an alternate explanation for why you did so, drop me an email -- puts the blame of the attack, you guessed it, on those Dirty Steenking Cock-a-rooch Wahabbists:
The barbaric and savage attack on the Shire of Imam Al-Hassan Al-Askari in Samara is a continuation of the barbarism of the Saudi Wahabi terrorism, which started such destruction against the entire ancient heritage.

The Shrine is more than a thousand years old and is an important historic site irrespective of who was buried there.

This barbaric act represent only the failure of the terrorists to achieve their goals and it may be one of their last cards against the Shia in Iraq.

Until now thousands of Shiites were killed and their shrines were destroyed since 2003 after the regime toppled. This is nothing but a racist act.

Alright Sam, so they blew up the freakin' roof of the shrine. Does that justify the actions of your fellow Shia to attack and mame Sunnis and their Mosques in the aftermath? Which is worse, Sam, a collapsed roof or a collapsed country,if it comes to that?

And are you sure it's the Wahabbists? Could very well be your fellow Shia or a combo platter of groups...

Sam by the way has the entire collection of Ayatollah Sistani Religious Action Figures:
Preaching Ayatollah; Don't Touch the Jews and Christians Ayatollah... Just teasing you, Sam.

Ali at Free Iraqi, back with a vigor after a hiatus of enervation tackles Sunni - Shia intransigence and the actions of the "Beloved" Ayatollah Sistani, whose modus operandi seems to have exacerbated the situation:
I read both Sunni and She'at papers and what I read is horrifying. Most of those papers don't even care to hide that hatred and scorn they have towards the other and they go with their insults and hatred back to the 7th century. Also, Sistanis constant attempts to calm the She'at and ask them to be the forgiving ones actually made She'at just more resentful towards Sunnis. One might say that Sistani is trying to protect Sunnis or his country as a whole but that's not true as I see it. By asking She'at to be forgiving and tolerant he's actually blaming the Sunnis, as if he thought the criminals in any terrorist attack were just a bunch of terrorists who do not represent Sunnis then why would She'at need to be tolerant or forgiving! You don't tolerate or forgive terrorists but you only do so when you think a whole community is responsible, and that's what Sistani thinks.

One has to admit that terrorists are mostly Sunnis, Arabs but also backed up by some radical Iraqi Sunnis and ex-Ba'thists, but to generalize it to include all Sunnis is a grave mistake that many make including Americans. On the other hand the She'at militias have been committing probably worse crimes towards Sunnis in an almost indiscriminative manner using the cover of the police or the army and using fighting terrorism as a justification to settle old accounts or even to inflame the situation more to serve their Iranian masters and also to provoke more reaction so that they can have a better case when they talk about forming an independent She'at state in the south and the center (Which the SCIRI is now advertising for strongly through its TV and Radio stations after today's attack and present it as the only solution).
So, Shia Mischief is afoot once more.

Fay, who believes in Free Speech, if you're not critical of Islam, commenting over at Ali's wants to get the inevitable (?) Iraqi Civil War over with:
Hi Ali,

Good to see you blogging today. I needed to read your excellent analysis of the situation.

Like you, I've been saying to myself, "Let's have the civil war and get over with it."
Fay, who's a bit cranky these days (LOL), commenting over at 24's disparages the notion of mourning for an empty building: And can you tell me why we have a week of mourning over the shrine bombing when nobody was reported killed?

So every time a building get bombed we mourn for a week? Would that apply to all sectors of Iraqi society? Shouldn't the freaking government be working to establish law and order instead of this show off of holiness.

Sorry 24, but the hypocracy of the Iraqi government is unbelieveable. That's not my opinion only. The same opinion is held by other Iraqis who e-mail me on a regular basis. I can't disagree with Fay. Is it not ridiculous that every time there's a crisis in Iran Iraq, the PM runs off to his Ayatollah Daddy, Sistani to confer about events. Hello Islamic Republic, Goodbye Hoped-For Secular Democracy.

And Fay, who's replacing Oscar on Sesame Street (ha ha ha) veers away from Baghdad, where much of the blogging and media focus occurs, to provide us with an on-the-scene look at the tribal festivities in Basra, where her local correspondent Queen Amidala resides and tells us: I've heard the audio file Zeyad published on his blog It's really frightening to listen to it. God help them.

Here -- I mean in my area -- is much more quiet than that. But last night around 7:30pm, we went out to buy some food. We saw strangers on the streets. They were wearing all black clothes with scarves on their heads in a strange way.

I'm at work today. I will keep you updated. - Three hours later, Fay received another update:
Actually the situation here is getting worse by the minute. Yesterday, its seems that they killed one of the most important Sunnis in Basra. This morning while my father was at the market, he heard that they killed another one. If this is what I heard happened in my area, then what else is happening in other parts of town?

And I was back home as soon as I sent you the previous letter as I found myself the only one at work today. I called my father to come take me back home. The streets were almost empty. We saw very few shops open on our way back home.

I’m sure the situation here isn’t any close to Baghdad; but the city is boiling.
Fay goes on to note, that the Queen's neighborhod in Basra has been relatively peaceful for the last three years.

Speaking of the likelihood of a Civil War, Iraqi Pundit questions the New York Times declaration -- "The killings and assaults across Iraq amounted to the worst sectarian violence since the American invasion."
-- of Civil War:
If Moktada Al Sadr's thugs are behind much of the violence, would it really be accurate to describe this as open civil war? The information the reporters give us does not match that of an open civil war.

There is no question that Al Sadr's thugs are indeed a troubling group. And the chaos they seek to create should not be dismissed. But how much influence over the rest of the population do these gangsters have? How representative are they of the Iraqi people?

There have been reports of joint Sunni-Shiite peaceful protests of the attacks on the mosques, and there have been calls for calm from both Sunni and Shiite leaders. There also have been several joint Sunni-Shiite prayers throughout the country to help calm the tensions.

And in a show of unity, thousands of Shiites joined Sunnis and attended the funeral of a Sunni religious figure who was murdered by unknown thugs.

Iraqis have been working hard to avoid a real civil war in the midst of suicide bombings, killings and kidnappings. But the media prefer to ignore these efforts and instead choose to focus on the agressive acts of Moktada Al Sadr's gang.

Truth, frequent commentator to the Iraqi and Kurdish Blogs provides some new information on the actions of President Jalal Talabani, certainly one of the few politicians in Iraq, exhibiting any leadership skills in the aftermath of Shrine attack: The Peshmerga protect the holliest Sunni shrine in Baghdad.

Iraqi President J.Talani has agreed to the dispatch peshmerga units to Bab il-Shiekh to protect one of the Holliest Sunni shrine in baghdad Shiekh Abdel Kadir al-Gaylani , so now many peshmerga taking their positions on the roof and many parts ,in case of any attack .
Iraqi units closed all the roads leading to the area ! A nice defensive move by the President to spoil things for the thugs , as some both (Sunni&Shiaa)in their interests to keep it boiling and worsening ! The President T. called Iraqis to unite and would be away to answer this horrendous attack by forming the new Iraqi goverment and spoil their joy !

Morbid Smile Grins and Bares her Morbid Smile, the chaos of a city and nation conflicted, the Iraqi Soul in torment:

Now as I'm writing this, I hear gunshots out there. Baghdad has become a city of ghosts. But even in the city of ghosts there are some ghosts walking down the streets, while in Baghdad even ghosts are afraid to go out!! It was called The Land of Peace. How ironic is that! Where is the government in all of this? It's nowhere to be seen. It even failed in protecting the dead people in their Shrines!!

I am a true Morbid Smile now! I'm watching my country being destroyed little by little, its holly places are attacked severely, and its people are killing each other. A great civilization of more than 7000 years is going to waste. It's the country that once was!

I started writing this at about 12:30 midnight, and now it’s 2:30. The radio is still on. I kept switching the stations and the gunshots are still in the open air out there in the city of hell. The radio voice cannot swallow the sounds of explosions anymore.

And at the end, I woke up in the morning to screams and cries of my neighbors. Their old sick father died in his bed last night!

Are you still asking why I am a "Morbid" Smile?

Ye Clueless One, wherever he's hiding out, Truth About Iraq spews his
Hate America bile:

This has to be the most corrupted incompetent government ever assembled by US foreign policy. It doesn’t function on so many different levels.But then again, this government was never about governance, but sowing dissent. This dissent was planted in the early days by the Iraq Governing Council and now it is bearing fruit.

Dr. Truth is part of the "Blame America Brigade" too:

I personally feel very sorry for this criminal action, and condemned who planed and who executed this act.
Till now there are more than 160 mosques attacked and some set to fire by men in black, claimed they are belong to the Mehdi army ( armed militia under the controll of Moqtada Al Sader). Tens of dead bodies were found at different places near Baghdad.

Congratulation America you did what you are came for.

Why Thank You, Dr. "Truth" and "Truth About Iraqis", America is always glad to be of assistance, but before you get too caught up in your hostility over the current chaos in Iraq, ask yourself the following questions:

Is the United States responsible for attacking the Shrine? No.
Is the United States responsible for the reprisals by the Men In Black and the destruction/killings in retaliation for the Shrine's attack? No.
Is the United States responsible for the actions of Muqti al-Sadr? No.
Is the United States responsbile for electing the current ineffectual government, not once, but twice? No.
Is the United States responsible for Saddam Hussein coming to power in Iraq and establishing a dictatorship aided and abetted by your fellow Iraqis: Sunni, Shia, sometimes Christians, even Kurds, Turkmen, etc.? No.

No, Dr. "Truth" and the other "Truth", your fellow Iraqis (with occassional help from Iran, Saudia Arabia, and Syria) are responsible for the above actions, not America. Your blame is sadly misplaced.

From Jihad Watch via AP we learn Surprise-Surprise, Iran is also in the Blame-The-US mode:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the United States and Israel on Thursday for the blowing up of a Shi'ite shrine's golden dome in Iraq, saying it was the work of "defeated Zionists and occupiers."... "They invade the shrine and bomb there because they oppose God and justice," Ahmadinejad said, referring to the US-led multinational force in Iraq.

And in another shocking surprise, Baghdad Treasure abrogates Iraqi's personal responsibility, going in to full victimization mode, blaming the US too:

And now, I am sad to see a country suffered from tyranny will suffer from a civil war. I am afraid that we'll have the same fate of Lebanon. I don't know if this civil strife will stop or continue. Even under dictatorship and tyranny, we have not gone through such a day. It is hard to see this beautiful and ancient country destroyed. It seems what the Americans have done was not enough. Iraqis should suffer, be killed, watch themselves humiliated, and kill each other just because America wants to remove Saddam from its way to make the world safer. Or let's say to make America safer and hell be with the non-Americans as some of them say. Let the whole world be happy and "safe" now because Iraq's "liberation" made it safe for them, but unfortunately made it a hell for Iraqis.

Commenting at Jihad Watch, Catherine would disagree with Baghdad:

Well, none of course. We (as in the majority here) seem to possess some personal responsibility and a lack of the victimization ethos. Get retrospective Iraqis, the Real Truth -- not Dr Truth's version or Baghdad Treasure's or Truth About Iraqis or Riverbend's or the Jarrar's -- is contained within you.


Sunni Mo, commenting at Zeyad's almost does this, as he lays the blame on either George Bush, or the reigning Iraqi Government/Hezbollah/Iran/Muqti:

It just happens that everytime the preasure mounts on the Hizbollahi-thug coalition, the bombs start exploding left, right and centre in shia "strongholds". The UIA-Hizollahi thugs use the deaths and attacks as political capital to consolidate their grasp on power and move the country closer to a clone of the "Satanic Irani Republic".
"No need to smell a dead rat me thinks, THERE IS ALREADY A DEAD RAT and it's name is UIA-Satanic Republic-Bad Brigade- Muqty the Fatty- Hizollahi-Baseeji THUGS!" Sunni

While Over the River Bend is imbued with a sense of foreboding after the Shrine attack.

Crazybird Ladybird put on her Colombo Raincoat and
got down to some serious detective work ferreting out the guilty parties in the attack:

Think about it logically, the mosque in samara was there centuries ago, never been assaulted, attacked or any harm done to the building before.
Since the occupation, the mosque was an "available target" but nothing happened so why now and how will benefit from such attack?.
We have two suspects:

Iran wants to see a civil war waged between Sunnis and Shiites, the outcome of this civil war will be an independent Shiites region which is in conclusion will be an Iranian region.
You can't dismiss an Iranian-Syrian-Zarqawi axis using such an attack to foment as much trouble and strife in Iraq as possible. Iran has been implicated in sheltering and giving aid to Al Qaeda in the past, there's evidence of them coordinating actions with Syria, and there are rumors that Zarqawi has fled to Iran. And with the damage to the shrine not desecrating the Mahdi's Residence of Occultation, very important in the Messianic Beliefs of the current Iranian regime, you can't rule this type of connection out.

But then Ladybird's logical processes jump the shark:
Samarra is a failure to the US, they attacked it many times but brought no results, the city is still an accessible for the Americans, gunmen attack the Americans daily in Samarra and the surrounding areas, so intensive that few weeks ago I read on an Iraqi newspaper that American checkpoints outside the city are seizing telephones with build-in cameras from Samarra citizens so the attacks are not filmed and distributed through the internet.

(LB citing Rumsfield)

US troops are so desperate to enter the city that Rumsfeld said:
you cannot allow a series of safe havens or a consistent pattern of misbehavior…..So you have to do something about it …

Creating this assault on the mosque is just one of their attempts, this time they want to enter the city but in a different way, not as occupiers but as saviors, an old trick but it works (sometimes).

Of course that makes no sense to anyone but Ladybird and her Legion of American-Hating Lefties, but hey whatever gets you through the night, alright.

Ukhti Ukhti Ukhti from the an iraqi tear blog is one such America-Hater. She's a single mother in Baghdad, so you feel for her frustrations and uneasy situation, but Whoah Nellie she is suffering from one severe case of BDS. I guarantee you she sees the Bush Demon in her dreams trying to impregnate her with his Christian seed.

So, of course, she's blaming the Shrine attack and the events afterwards on Bush and
the Americans:

Bush could state now that his mission in Iraq had accomplished... He tried his best toward dividing Iraq and the Iraqis supported by those who were back on the board of his tanks… For the first time I am afraid of a civil war. The unashamed silence World should admit that what had happened in Iraq last Wednesday would not be happened if the occupation forces were not in Iraq. A holy shrine was exploded and tens of mosques were attacked and burnt.
Ukhti also offers her theory on who perpetuated the Shrine Bombing:

Who will get benefits of a civil war in Iraq? Kurds are the first; because Barzani said before months that he will announce his independent state as soon as a civil war will begin… the Americans, again to protect the Iraqis!! And the political “leaders” who are becoming wealthiest day after another from the chose in Iraq…

The Kurds! Well, that's certainly a new take on possible culprits. But Ukhti isn't done with her Bush bashing:

Bush, as usual without feeling any shame, said on the day when tens of mosques were burning and tens were being killed that Iraqis are enjoying the freedom of media and speech!! Who will help us and will tell him SHUT UP MR. LIER. The Iraqis and the nobles of the world should curse Bush, Blair and every body who are observing the Iraqi bloods without trying to stop it.

And Ukhti, I think, becomes the first Iraqi Blogger to try to link the Mohammed cartoons
to the bombing: Why no body is trying to find the link between the cartoons attacking the prophet and exploding the holy shrine? - Gee Ukhti, I can't tell you why no one else is doing it. You just have a talent for innovation, I guess.

Be sure to check out Ukhti's other posts of appreciation for George Bush and Iraqi Democracy:

The DEMOCRACY beheads the students!

Thank You Bush for Making Iraqi's Life Enjoyable!

“Timer” and the Special Guest of Bush..

Okay Ukhti, have a nice day, come again.

Akba is down in the dumps over recent events and sees the strength of the Militias (except for the Peshmerga) as being the main hinderance to a Demcratic Iraq:




Akba, who needs to go a bit easy on his Capitals, also takes issue with Shia reaction and leadership:

What happened this week has truly brought this tension and animosity to the forefront, (with the help of some scrupulous meddling of some people of course), we have seen thousands of desperate Shi’a go to the streets and vent their anger at the Sunni community. What upsets me is that this has and was nurtured and urged upon from the so called leaders of the Shia community.. They have continually nurtured this illusion of a tension in order to best serve their political aspirations. These leaders have acted irresponsibly towards their constituents and Iraq, and it is for this reason that I absolutely abhore them.

As for the militia’s. I really want to hear one Shia Iraqi come out with it and condemn these barbarians. And NO,, the Shia militia’s are not the same as the Beshmerga of Kurdistan, and they have proven that time and time again.. the Mehdi Army and Bedr Berigades are o more than Mafia Mudering thugs intents on doing everything that Iran asks of them,, they are not Loyal to Iraq and they must be crushed.. Any politician that supports these private mafias has no place in Iraqi politics and should be discredited.

Can't disagree with him at all. The Militias: Mahdi's Army and the Badr Brigade et al., really need to be eliminated, but their actions in recent days highlight a continuing problem of Shia Mischief in Iraq.

True, elements of the Sunni and Shia have both acted like petulant children in Post Saddam Iraq. The Sunni giving aid and succor to the Baathists, Syrians, Arab Extremists, and Al Qaeda in a furious attempt to return the Nation of Iraq to their past dominance through murder, explosions, kidnappings, and assaults.

The Shia meanwhile, impregnated with Iranian cash, mercenaries, and agents have used their Militias to settle old scores, turning the Southern half of the country in to Iranistahn, imposing harsh religious edicts, besides engaging in torture, death squads, and executions. A Pox on both their houses of extremism I say.

The Sunni Sins have been well documented. Now, we will examine some of the pre-Shrine-attack Shia Lawlessness.

"Shia Death Squads in Basra" Or Who Might Have Killed Steven Vincent

Abu Kazem
the former leader of an Islamic militant group in Basra admitted... that his movement "took part in death squads which operated in this city" with input from the Iranian secret services. Abu Kazem, who declined to name his group, told Adnkronos International (AKI) the 'members' of his political movement "were part of a group tasked with carrying out murders in Basra". As Kazem relates: We met from time to time at the base of one of the [Islamist] organisations along with members of the Iranian secret services who gave us instructions on the people who were to be killed... All the parties and the movements were in possession of a variety of arms which were usually used for this [murders] along with police uniforms and police cars which were provided to the parties at the time by the former chief of police" he added. Abu Kazem underlined that the decisions on which people to kill were made "according to orders from Iran, and first and foremost targets were local officials, academics and journalists". Journalists, like Steven Vincent, one wonders? Did Iran have Stephen Vincent killed for exposing the activities of these Basrian death squadists? Wouldn't suprise me...

The Engineer and The Shia Torture Facilities

I remember growing up, eating Good N' Plenty, and having their theme song percolate inside my head: Choo-Choo-Charlie was an engineer...

Well, "The Engineer" in Iraq is a far different character from those good tasting licorice thingies. Yes, indeed, this Engineer's specialty is murder and torture, licensed by the
al-Jaafari government and the Interior Ministry.

The story (via The Washington Times - Hat Tip Free Republic) came to light via Gen. Muntazar Jasim al-Samarrai, the ex-Iraqi general, who was "formerly in charge of special Interior Ministry forces..."

General al-Samarri told the Washington Times that a "senior Iranian intelligence officer was in charge of a network of detention centers where suspected insurgents were routinely tortured and sometimes killed."

Gen. al-Samarrai said the Iranian intelligence officer, Tahseer Nasr Lawandi, works directly under the Kurdish deputy minister, Gen. Hussein Kamel, and is known throughout the ministry as "The Engineer." "The Engineer was behind the torturing and killing in the ministry and was also in charge of Jadriya prison"

...The Iranian officer not only masterminded interrogations, tortures and executions at the prisons, but also would take part in torture sessions, often using an electric drill, Gen. al-Samarrai said.

Some of the tortured prisoners were found in morgues with drill holes in their legs and eyes, according to another security source, who declined to be identified.
The general said Mr. Lawandi had worked with the minister and deputy minister to form a special security service to run the detention and interrogation operation and a separate group called the Wolf Brigade to capture suspects and bring them to the secret locations -- usually under cover of darkness.

An electric drill! Whoooo, he's handy with the power tools. Why isn't he known as The Carpenter. These Coo-Coo for Cocoa Puffs Iraqis can't even get their torturers named right.

And why is General al-Samarrai revealing all of this information now? Gen. al-Samarrai, a 46-year-old career officer, was ousted from the Interior Ministry in a purge of about 600 staff in July. Many were replaced by hard-line loyalists to new Interior Minister Bayan Jabr Solagh and his allies in the Badr Brigade, a militia affiliated with Iraq's largest Shi'ite religious party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The general said the minister had brought 17,000 Badr organization fighters into the ranks of Interior Ministry forces after Iraq's militias were officially disarmed. Most had received military training in Iran and were infiltrated into Iraq soon after the defeat of dictator Saddam Hussein.

17,000 mostly Iranian trained and infilitrated militia men in to the ranks of the Interior Ministry. That's a Big 10-4 of Badness and Extremism just waiting to happen.

And the General details more of the Iranian influence:

While in the ministry and on visits to detention facilities, Gen. al-Samarrai said, he often heard the officers and jailers speaking among themselves in Farsi, the Iranian language, echoing previous statements to The Washington Times by businessmen who visited the ministry. Iraqi Shi'ites, although adherents of the same branch of Islam, speak Arabic, not Farsi.
Gen. al-Samarrai also said that salaries for many of the ministry's employees came from Iran.
"Most of the torturers were either Iranians or were Iraqis who had lived in Iran and had come to Iraq after the invasion" in 2003, he said.

Baghdad Houston, we have a problem, as the General describes the Shia Torture Facilities:

Gen. al-Samarrai said...that he knew of 10 such facilities... al-Samarrai listed in detail a number of secret detention and interrogation facilities that had been set up apart from the Jadriya prison. Four were in the Iraqi capital, including the one raided by American forces... he said.

Another three are in largely Shi'ite regions of the country, the general said. He said there are also two detention centers for women in Baghdad, where "female prisoners are tortured and raped." Here, with the Raping and Torturing of female prisoners, we see the clear influence of the Iranians, exporting their own sadistic penal policies. It certainly takes a strong stomach to wade through these Shia miseries.

Fortunately, for some of these prisoners, the US came to the rescue:

U.S. troops raided the secret Jadriya facility in mid-November and found 166 prisoners, many emaciated and bearing obvious signs of torture. An American raid... on another facility in Baghdad found 625 prisoners huddled in overcrowded and degraded conditions, including at least 13 who required hospitalization. - Abu Gharib My Ass...

Meanwhile, Back to The Shia Death Squads

Before the Shrine came down and the Shia Religious Riots started, the US forces caught a
Shia Assassination Team, whom evidently thought they were in El Salvador:

In the death squad case, Iraqi security officials said the Interior Ministry probe would focus on a single incident involving 22 Iraqi policemen who U.S. authorities said were detained last month before they were able to kill a Sunni Arab man north of Baghdad. "They were dressed as Iraqi highway patrolmen but only four of those individuals were planning to conduct a kidnapping and subsequent murder of a Sunni individual," Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch told reporters Thursday. Maj. Gen. Joseph Peterson, who commands the civilian police training teams in Iraq, gave a slightly different version to the Chicago Tribune for a story Thursday about the death squad. Peterson said the 22 men were wearing police commando uniforms but turned out to be employed by the Interior Ministry as highway patrol officers. He said four were believed to be ringleaders while the 18 others were likely following orders. All were picked up at a checkpoint. "We continue to believe that there's more of these out there," he said.

The funny part, in a big time ironic way, is that the Interior Ministry is going to investigate it. LOL, the same Interior Ministry that ran/runs the Torture Prisons and sent out the Death Squad in the first place...

The Naughty Ayatollah Sistani Funneling Money To Iran

We've already seen as demonstrated by Ali at Free Iraqi, Sistani's misinformed efforts
to soothe Shia-Sunni tension, and his foolish call in the midst of the Shrine Riots for protests to be staged. Along with these two no-no's and the actions of his son during the last election (see below), the Evil Ayatollah also has been funneling money to Iran. The Wall Street Journal via Jihad Watch) tells us:

Iraq's most prominent Shiite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, maintained close ties with Tehran during Saddam Hussein's rule and today channels millions of dollars monthly into Islamic research centers and theological schools in Iran, according to his Web site, demonstrating the growing convergence of Iran's and Iraq's religious elite.

Islamic research centers and theological school indeed. But, what's wrong with that you say? LOL, naive ones, the Corrupt Mullahcrocacy in Iran skims a large percentage of the funds that these alleged establishments take in. I can't give you a percentage, but the Evil One is insuring that the Totalatarian Regime in Iran is raking in millions of dollars from poor Iraqi saps.

As Robert commenting at Jihad Watch asks in regard to Sistani's money laundering schemes:

Say, would any of that new-found wealth making its way to religious schools in Iran have been the $8.8 billion of American taxpayers' money that went missing in Iraq and just can't "be accounted for"? (...) Or would that money instead be part of the other hundreds of billions also spent by American taxpayers in Iraq to build "Iraq the Model" a/k/a "Iraq the Light Unto the Muslim Nations" that is the money that can be accounted for, that was deliberately plowed into the country, and spread around like confetti, so "Iraqis" could feel good about themselves, and about the wonderful Americans?

Diverted, or deliberately given, and then sent to Iran? (...) And since it is apparently against the law to supply the Islamic Republic of Iran with American funds directly, let's just let Sistani, and members of Dawa and SCIRI, and Moqtada al-Sada, hetman of the harafish, do it for us. Saves on postage. And handling. I guess it does!

The Naughty Ayatollah's Naughty Son Does His Part To Sway The Last Election
For List 555

Nibras Kazimi from the Talisman Gate notes Muhammad Ridha Sistani, the Ayatollah Sistani's son's influence in campaigning for List 555 in the last Iraqi election. Sistani Jr.'s campaign used "mosque sermons and catchy jingles" so that:

the Shia faithful got the message that voting against 'Haydar's Candle' would anger Imam Ali. ['Haydar's Candle': Haydar is an alternate name for Imam Ali, and the ballot symbol of the UIA list no. 555 was a candle, the same as the January election.]

Sistani Jr. and Iranian Intelligence -- Did they coordinate their efforts? -- also organized massive demostrations to in response to an election eve appearance on Aljazeera by "anti-liberation Iraqi commentator... Fadhil Al-Rubaiee":

Al-Rubaiee's outburst allowed Muhammad Ridha Sistani and Iranian intelligence to orchestrate massive demonstrations across Baghdad and southern Iraq that came out denouncing Aljazeera, supporting the UIA and burning and tearing down all rival election posters and related paraphernalia. This was the clearest and most timely opportunity afforded to the Sistani camp to strongly suggest to their flock the virtues of voting for the UIA.

Dawa And SCIRI The Former Terrorist Groups (or present terrorist groups as some would claim)

Paul Mushine writing for NJ.Com notes Dawa and SCIRI's terrorist past and attack on the American embassy in Kuwait:

What would you call someone who wants to hand over control of Iraq to a group of terrorists that first made its reputation by blowing up a couple of American embassies? I'd call him President Bush.

The group is called the Dawa party. In the early 1980s, Dawa terrorists bombed our embassies in Kuwait and in Lebanon. They were universally recognized as vicious America-hating, Iranian-supported terrorists. Now they're part of the coalition that is expected to win control of the new Iraqi parliament in Thursday's elections.

The other coalition partners aren't much better. The sanest group on the Shi'a side is the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. A 1984 Washington Post story portrayed the group, known by its initials SCIRI, as "a kind of parent organization for four operational terrorist groups." SCIRI was founded in Iran a couple of years earlier by the Ayatollah Khomeini with the goal of taking control of Iraq. Now, they're about to do so, courtesy of George W. Bush...

And they did too. Former CIA agent Bob Baer, whot with Dawa during the 1980s in the Mideast, tells us: These guys are murderers. They were the core element that blew up our embassy in Beirut in 1983.

Nice people. Have they changed from their Terrorist days? Baer doesn't think so:

Not likely, says Baer. "I used to meet with them in the '90s, and they'd never shed their beliefs," he told me. "But no one asked us."

Iran And Their Iraqi Agents Assassinating Sunni Pilots

From The Telegraph (via Jihad Watch) we learn that the Iranians and their fellow Shia assistants in Iraq were/are assassinating, "Iraqi Sunni pilots who were involved in the Iran-Iraq war... " The assassinations attempts have been so numerous that Jalal Talabani was offering the remaining Sunni Pilots sanctuary in Kurdistan: Iran is backing a Shia insurgent campaign of systematically assassinating former elite Iraqi air force pilots as part of a covert sectarian war against Sunnis, according to senior politicians in Baghdad. The spate of murders of pilots has prompted an intervention from Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, who has offered them safe haven in his native Kurdistan even though some of them were involved in dropping chemical weapons there. Talalbani, despite a few flaws, seems light years ahead of your average Mideast Politician and should be running the country as PM, rather than the useless al-Jaafari.

Everybody Loves Muqti

Everyone's favorite thug and politician Muqti al-Sadr and his Men In Black Mahdi Army (along with the Badr Brigade) are raising quite a ruckus these days with their attacks on Sunnis and mosques, but Muqti and his gang were quite busy before this latest campaign.

There was his foray in to female slavery (via Dhimmi Watch which tell us):
In full accord with traditional Islamic laws governing warfare, a top aide to Muqtada al-Sadr has told Iraqi jihadists that if they capture female soldiers, they can keep them as slaves. From AP:

BASRA, Iraq - A senior aide of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr told worshippers during a... sermon in southern Iraq that anyone capturing a female British soldier can keep her as a slave.

I don't think they would want to capture any American women and make them in to slaves, because they wouldn't get any housework out of them. And home-cooked meals...ha ha. They'd be tossing the American women out after a week and getting back to some good old fashioned Iraqi slave gals.

Then there was Muqti's guy offering money for capturing or killing members of Iraq's former Governing Council: The aide, Sheik Abdul-Sattar al-Bahadli...offered money to anyone capturing or killing a member of the Governing Council, the widely unpopular interim administration appointed by the U.S.-led occupation 10 months ago.

And al-Bahadli, like Muqti his commander, a well behaved man: Al-Bahadli kept an assault rifle next to him as he spoke to an estimated 3,000 worshippers, occasionally lifting it as he screamed "jihad!," and "Allahu Akbar!," or "God is greatest!"

Lastly, It's Time For Mister Ghost's Law Of Inopportunity

I formulated this law on March 3, 1991 at 3 PM - I know, because I wrote the date, the time, and the Law down on a scrap of paper and left it buried away in a desk drawer, until I unearthed it recently:

During the most Inopportune Times, The most Inopportune Events, Seek their Opportunity.

And Inopportune Events seeking their Opportunity during Inopportune Times, that my friends is Iraq in a nutshell today.

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