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A week and a half ago, I was looking through the morning papers and saw that someone had blown the golden dome off the Al Askari Mosque in Samarra. Like many others, I thought this might be an act heinous enough to drop the other shoe in Iraq and send the whole place back into the stone age. Sure enough, a few days after the bombing headlines talked about 1,300 dead as result of revenge attacks. That's in addition to all the people who were dying anyways.
I didn't believe that the Sunnis had blown up such a holy Shia Shrine. I thought that any Iraqi, no matter Sunni or Shia, or Kurd, would have more respect and more sense than to commit such a foul act. My conspiracy adled mind immediately turned to 1600 Pennsylvania Blvd where neither is to be found, I turned and told a co-worker that this was yet another crime of the occupiers. This was the Americans, I felt but I had no explanation for it. I have trouble finding reasons for so many things they have done in that tortured land.
It turns out that I'm not alone in my suspicions. Iran's President Ahmadinejad didn't blame Sunnis either, but said, "These heinous acts are committed by a group of Zionists and occupiers that have failed." Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei added, "There are definitely some plots to force Shi'ites to attack the mosques and other properties respected by the Sunnis. Any measure to contribute to that direction is helping the enemies of Islam and is forbidden by Sharia." And in Lebanon, Hizbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah told thousands of Lebanese Shi'ites in Beirut, "I tell them that this (Muslim) nation will not be torn apart. It will not fall for the tricks of the occupier."
But then today I came across an interview with Robert Fisk which is really worth watching for anyone who wants a little perspective on the situation on Iraq. Who does Bob think is trying to start a civil war in Iraq?
The real question I ask myself is: who are these people who are trying to provoke the civil war? Now the Americans will say it's Al Qaeda, it's the Sunni insurgents. It is the death squads. Many of the death squads work for the Ministry of Interior. Who runs the Ministry of Interior in Baghdad? Who pays the Ministry of the Interior? Who pays the militia men who make up the death squads? We do, the occupation authorities.
What is this thing when Bush says we have to choose between chaos and unity? Who wants to choose chaos? Is it really the case that all of these Iraqis that fought together for eight years against the Iranians, Shiites and Sunnies together in the long massive murderous Somme-like war between the Iranians and Iraqis - suddenly all want to kill each other? Why because that's something wrong with Iraqis? I don't think so. They are intelligent, educated people. Something is going seriously wrong in Baghdad.
Whether or not the occupying forces were directly responsible for this latest crime, there is no doubt that they must bear the responsibility. At the very least they are indirectly responsible for starting an aggressive war on false pretences before the fact, and for failing to provide the necessary security after the fact.
The destruction of the Al Askari Mosque is just the latest of a string of atrocities against Muslim culture during this war, starting with the looting of the museums, or when the thousand year old spiral minaret of the Great Mosque in Samarra was damaged, or the destruction of sixty of two hundred mosques in the City of Mosques; Fallujah.