Disappointment in Samarra
The Stupid Shall be Punished posts on the destruction of the al Askariya mosque in Samarra, Iraq, probably as a result of sectarian violence.
The Daily Telegraph has this report:
"Gunmen entered the shrine at dawn and planted bombs and blew it up," Abdullah al-Jubaara, deputy governor of Salaheddine Province which includes Samarra.
In a statement, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's foremost Shi'ite cleric, called for protests following the blast. He also demanded seven days of mourning over the destruction of the shrine, where two revered Shi'ite imams are buried.
Iraq's prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari declared three days of mourning after the attack, which he described as an attack on all Muslims.
A resident of Samarra said people had started to gather for a demonstration.
The complex is one of the holiest Shi'ite shrines in Iraq. Today's explosion is the third attack on a prominent Shi'ite target in as many days.
Most readers following Iraq the Model will know that the negotiations to form a government of national unity are going very slowly. Michael Totten in Kurdistan is suggesting that the Kurds are pulling up stakes and leaving the Sunnis and Shi'ites to duke it out.
Iraq may not survive in one piece. The overwhelming majority of Iraqi Kurds are packing their bags. Most have already said goodbye. Erbil (Hawler in Kurdish) is the capital of the de-facto sovereign Kurdistan Regional Government. Baghdad is thought of as the capital of a deranged foreign country.
In January 2005 the Iraqi Kurds held an informal referendum. More than 80 percent turned out to vote. 98.7 percent of those voted to secede from Iraq. Not only have the Kurds long dreamed of independence, when they look south they see only Islamism, Baathism, blood, fire, and mayhem.
We'll know pretty soon whether there's enough will in Iraq to make it work even nominally as one country.