The Nauroz offensive
Syed Saleem Shahzad, writing in the Asia Times (hat tip: Bill Roggio) says that the destruction of the Golden Mosque was a terrible blow to the Sunni-Shi'ite united resistance against the United States.
KARACHI - Spring is only a month away, and preparations for Nauroz (the Persian new year) are well under way. In Iran this year, however, Nauroz was due to come with a deadly dimension: the start of a new phase of a broad-based anti-US resistance movement stretching from Afghanistan to Jerusalem. ...
Security contacts have told Asia Times Online that several al-Qaeda members have been moved from detention centers to safe houses run by Iranian intelligence near Tehran. The aim of these people in Iran is to establish a chain of anti-US resistance groups that will take the offensive before the West makes its expected move against Tehran. ... Many believe that the US is planning preemptive military action against Iran.
With Wednesday's attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra in Iraq, home to a revered Shi'ite shrine, the dynamics have changed overnight. ... The potentially bloody polarization in the Shi'ite-Sunni world now threatens to unravel the links that have been established between Shi'ite-dominated Iran and radical Sunni groups from Afghanistan and elsewhere.
I'm not sure whether to believe Mr. Shahzad. Zarqawi has long declared his intention to start an Iraqi civil war. The al-Qaeda or Sunni groups have attacked Shi'ite pilgrimages and holy places for two years running. Saddam Hussein launched a war against the Ayatollah in 1980. Therefore it does not necessarily follow that the Golden Mosque attack was in response to the Nauroz offensive. But it does raise the question: what is the Nauroz offensive?