As if we didn’t have enough problems already!
From where I’m sitting now I can hear both Sunni and Shia mosques are condemning the attack through their loudspeakers.
Things look scary here in Baghdad…
Head of the Sunni endowment sheikh Ahmed al-Samarra’I announces that he will allocate 2 billion dinars (~1.4 million $) for the rebuilding of the shrine from the treasury of the Sunni endowment.
Tight security around the shrine of Abu Haneefa in Aazamiya district of Baghdad, this is considered the top shrine/mosque for Sunni Muslims in Iraq.
People exchange phones calls with their relatives and friends to check on them and discourage them from leaving their homes.
This all happened when I was in the Green Zone today to interview Lt. Gen. Dempsey, commander of the training command. He cancelled his interview, which baffled his poor public affairs office. He commented that what was happening must be really big if Dempsey is canceling interviews as he’s usually not involved in the day-to-day war fighting details. (“He’s not in the 5-meter knife fight,” the PAO said.) Also, I saw several Apache helicopters taking off from the Green Zone, which is also unusual. Usually, it’s Blackhawks that fill the air. Other military source sources have said the Americans have scaled back all patrols, especially in Shi’ite neighborhoods.
This is the tensest Baghdad has been in two years
Moqtada al-Sadr is holding takfiris (those who call others infidels, i.e., the Salafists and Wahabists), Ba’athists and the “occupation” responsible for the shrine attack.
“It was not the Sunnis who attacked the shrine of imam Al-Hadi, God’s peace be upon him, but rather the occupation; the takfiris, al-nawasib (a derogatory term the Shiites use to refer to Sunnis), God damn them; and the Ba’thists. We should not attack Sunni mosques. I ordered al-Mahdi Army to protect the Shi’ite and Sunni shrines and to show a high sense of responsibility, something they actually did.” Moqtada has also called for a vote in parliament on expelling “foreign forces,”
And finally.. from a scholar in America:
Tuesday was an apocalyptic day in Iraq. I am not normally exactly sanguine about the situation there. But the atmospherics are very, very bad, in a way that most Western observers will miss.
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.
Some Shiites think his second coming is imminent. Muqtada all-Sadr and his followers are among them. They are livid about this attack on the shrine of the Mahdi’s father.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also a firm believer in the imminent coming of the Mahdi. I worry that Iranian anger will boil over as a result of this bombing of a Shiite millenarian symbol.
Both Sunnis and Americans will be blamed. Very bad
There is not much else to say about today in Iraq.. except… very bad.