Tuesday :: Jul 1, 2003

Here Comes Trouble


by dj moonbat

Posted by Matt Davis

MSNBC brings us the latest word from Iraq. Among other events, a Mosque blew up. Locals blame U.S. missiles, of course:

On Tuesday morning about a dozen Iraqis remained, sifting through the rubble for pieces of metal they said proved the damage was caused by an American attack.

“These are pieces of a missile,” said Aqeel Ibrahim Ali, 26, who was standing on a concrete slab overlooking the destruction, holding out a box filled with metal shards. “An airplane shot a missile.”

Also, the now commonplace RPG attack on an American convoy:

In Baghdad, assailants traveling in a vehicle in the central Mustansiryah neighborhood fired a rocket propelled-grenade at a U.S. military vehicle Tuesday, destroying it and likely causing casualties, Iraqi witnesses said.

One witness, 19-year-old Ali Ibrahim Shakir, said he saw two U.S. soldiers being evacuated on stretchers. He told the AP he could not tell if the soldiers had been hurt or killed. Witnesses viewed the rescue process from at least 100 yards away because they said they feared further explosions from a nearby gas station.

But the really bad news is less obviously explosive: The honeymoon with the Shia clerics is over.

Steve Gilliard over at Kos has been making the point for weeks now that the Shiites in Iraq have been allowing our occupation forces a little time to get our act together. Why? Because the numbers are clearly on their side in the unlikely event of an outbreak of democracy.

In particular, Iraq's top cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has been staying above the fray, believing that politics is not a fitting pursuit for good holy men. Now, though, perhaps because we've been stomping on the small outbursts of local democracy throughout Iraq, Sistani is no longer remaining silent:

Southern Iraq, dominated by Shiite Muslims who largely hated Saddam, has seen less violence in recent weeks -- though many Shiites have rankled at U.S. domination.

One of the country's top Shiite clerics, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, this week, denouncing U.S. administrators' plans to appoint a council to draw up a new constitution and demanding elections so Iraqis can elect their own constitutional convention.

"There is no guarantee that the council would create a constitution conforming with the greater interests of the Iraqi people and expressing the national identity, whose basis is Islam and its noble social values," read the fatwa, dated Saturday and posted on al-Sistani's Web site.

Al-Sistani, one of Iraq's most influential people, has been largely supportive of American interests since Saddam's ouster.

Al-Sistani and another senior Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, told the AP on Monday that they favored a peaceful end to the U.S. occupation, and its replacement by a representative Iraqi government.

"What we want is the formation of a government that represents the will of the Iraqi people, by all its sects and ethnic groups," said al-Sistani.

The past few weeks have seen a steady simmer of animosity toward American troops. That simmer has been fairly low in part due to the fact that Sistani was content to let democracy do its thing and put Shiites in power.

Now that Sistani has called off his uneasy truce with his American visitors, what are we to do? If we proceed with our current plan for drafting a constitution, ignoring the religious dogma of Iraq's single biggest religious constituency, can another fatwa -- perhaps one that demands that we get the hell out -- be far behind?

dj moonbat :: 4:39 AM :: Comments (0) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!