Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The big story today is the attack on the al-Askari shrine in Samarra. The situation is ripe with danger and possibility and, like the wedding bomb in Jordan, I think it may have repercussions in the Islamic world at large. Iraq the Model and The BBC have more. IMHO, this is the major news event. As I understand it, it is like Al-Qaeda flying an airplane into the Sistine Chapel. Perhaps it is even more inflamatory, given the current religious tensions and unsettled government in Iraq. Let's not get distracted by the P&O purchase and the perfidy of academics.


Bill Roggio has an excellent post on this event. Belmont Club weighs in.

Update #2

Free Iraqi has a long and interesting post, he almost sounds relieved at the prospect of civil war being waged in the open instead of under the covers. Fayrouz seems to share some of the same fatalism. I'm waiting for Hammorabi to post in order to get the viewpoint of a devout She'at.

Update #3

Zeyad says the situation in Baghdad is tense with US helicopters and aircraft flying overhead. Scroll down and read Avoiding Iraqi Death Squads For Dummies to get some other background. I suspect this coming Friday will be an interesting day in Iraq.

Update #4

Zeyad has posted an excellent rundown with maps. He says, "The Interior ministry forces and Mahdi militiamen are having a field day." The Sadrists are apparently making a power grab. I have had long running doubts about the interior ministry, a position always ripe for abuse, and had hoped that a new government would put Allawi in charge as part of a settlement. I don't envy the US commander in Iraq tonight, it will be a tricky job to balance the political and military aspects of the situation, let alone figure out wtf is going on. The unrest will need to be brought under control soon or it could avalanche in the most remarkable way. We shall see.

Update #5

Daniel Drezner points to Dan Murphy's story in the Christian Science Monitor.

Update #6

More from the London Times. And that's it for tonight.


MeaninglessHotAir said...

President Bush should immediately make a statement condemning the act and offer American aid and help in rebuilding the shrine.

terrye said...


I had exactly the same thought.

I wish they had not allowed that little troublemaker Sadr back in the country. I heard that one of the sticking points in forming the new government is the Interior Ministry. It seems the old guy is out but the question is will someone like Allawi get the job..he has ties with both Shia and Sunni and is very tough.

I am not surprised at the reprisal killings I have heard about. I think that a lot of the Iraqis thought the US was too "nice" as one man put it. They thought they could deal with the bad guys better. In fact violence has been down until the last couple of days and now this awful thing.

I know this will make people in Iraq very angry, and now might not be the time for Coulter and her friends to blow off about ragheads. Islam is in crisis and we should be very careful with what we say and do right now.

terrye said...


I just read your last update and i am not sure what to think of it.

I am not even going to watch any news today, these people make me tired.

Syl said...

I'm going to take the long view here. When Iraq comes out of this a stronger nation because of all the hell they're going through now, nobody can say we foisted democracy upon them. They're going through their own growing pains, their own civil war, their own damned fight.

And their country, and their democracy, when this is done, will mean so much more to them.

We've laid so much on the Iraqi peoples' shoulders and so far they've always come through. I think this is the biggest test they've had since the first election. Can the violence be stemmed and a war of only words prevail?

terrye said...


I hope so. It seems to me that bad men are trying to ruin it for everyone. And I don't think these are locals. I think this is Zarqawi. The Sunni are outnumbered 4 to 1 and they don't have control of the army anymore. It would not be a civil war, it would be a massacre.

Knucklehead said...

I sometimes wonder if what the Middle East, or the entire "Islamic World" needs is to rip itself apart in order to put itself back together into something resembling sanity.

The forces at work within it apparently have no respect whatsoever for anything.

Syl said...

Notng your latest update. Urk.

This is a test of not only Iraqi people but of our guys political acumen and wisdom. It's said our Iraqi ambassador is a genius--this will certainly put him to the test.

And it will be a good lesson for their future because there will always be someone like Sadr around to gum up the works. That seems to be the norm and Iraqis will have to learn how to deal with it.

terrye said...


I don't think Sadr has that much popular support but it seems he developed a "If you can't beat em join em" attitude in regards to the government and targetted the Interior Ministry for his own. Prblem is the coalition does not want to subsidize Sadr and have made it plain that they do not want a sectarian state. If Zarqawi did not do this, they did. I would not put it past him to do this. This is the guy who had another cleric murdered inside a mosque as soon as he returned to Iraq. the little bastard.

It sounds like they need a purge of some of those security forces.