Friday, November 24, 2006

We shall see who calls the shots...

Unless there is a settlement, which I don't anticipate, we shall see who is in charge of Shiite-Iraq. The New York Times:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 24 — As the death toll from a series of devastating car bombs in a Shiite district here rose today to more than 200, a powerful legislative bloc loyal to firebrand Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr threatened to boycott the government if Iraq’s prime minister attends a scheduled meeting with President Bush in Jordan next week.
A representative of Sadr said this, not the man himself. This is interesting. There remains room to maneuver politically.

Sadr said this, according to Australia's ABC News:
A day after seeing his Baghdad power base devastated by explosions, radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called on Iraq's most prominent Sunni religious leader to tell his followers to stop killing Shiites.

Sadr, who on Thursday blamed Sunni Islamist Al Qaeda militants and Saddam Hussein loyalists for the blasts which killed 202 people, made the call during a Friday sermon in Kufa, just outside the Shiite holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad.

It was directed at Harith al-Dari, the head of Iraq's influential Muslim Clerics Association, an umbrella group for Sunni religious leaders, who is wanted by Iraqi authorities on suspicion of links to terrorism charges. Dari, who lives abroad, denies the accusations.

Sadr said Dari must issue religious rulings, or fatwas, to fellow minority Sunnis, who form the backbone of a three-year-old insurgency, forbidding the killing of Shiites or membership of Al Qaeda.
There have already been retaliations, CNN:
In the aftermath of the bloody strike Thursday on Shiites in the Sadr City slum, attackers assaulted three Sunni mosques Friday in Baghdad.

Gunmen burned a Sunni mosque in Hurriya, a majority-Shiite neighborhood in northwestern Baghdad. Police said people tried to put out the fire, but gunmen stopped them.

Eyewitnesses said gunmen also attacked another Sunni mosque in Hurriya using rocket-propelled grenades.

The people of Hurriya called on the Iraqi government to secure and protect their neighborhood, according to a TV station controlled by the Iraqi Islamic Party.


Blogger Praguetwin said...

It sure does seem like some kind of turning point, or at least an uptick in the stakes. Bush can't meek Maliki in Baghdad because of security?

I am hesitant to announce a change because it seems like the more things change, the more they seem the same, but the events of this week seem significant and the rhetoric seems to be shifting all around.

2:49 PM  

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