Thursday, February 23, 2006

Storm clouds over Baghdad Part 2

More on the situation in Baghdad from Iraq the Model. The highlights are given verbatim below.

... extended curfews 8pm-6am ...Sistani ... calling for restraint ... but ... some Shia factions are not listening to him  ... ... Islamic Party and Muslim Scholars claim more than 120 mosques have been blown up, set ablaze or came under small arms and RPG fire ... the central morgue in Baghdad received some 80 bodies ...

In our neighborhood the Sadr militias seized the local mosque ... the sense in the streets and the statements given by some Shia clerics suggest that retaliation attacks are organized and under control and are focusing on mosques frequented by Salafi and Wahabi groups and not those of ordinary Sunnis. ... Looking at the geographic distribution of the attacked mosques, I found they were mostly in areas adjacent to Sadr city forming a line that extends from the New Baghdad district in the southeast to al-Hussayniya in the northeast ... The Association of Muslim Scholars is accusing the Sadrists in particular ...

...  Sunni political leaders ... refused to join the meeting saying the government has to condemn attacks on their mosques as well before they consider ending the boycott. Talabani responded positively ... and condemned all attacks on worshipping places of all kinds....

Baghdad looks more alive today but in a very cautious way, traffic in the streets is heavier than it was yesterday ... the good thing is that the Sunni have not returned the attacks and I hope the Shia have satisfied their vengeance by now...

Bill Roggio has a piece up called Looking for Signs of Civil War in Iraq, in which he lays out indicators to watch for if a full blown civil war is under way. Some of them are:

• The Shiite United Iraqi Alliance no longer seeks to form a unity government
• Sunni political parties withdraw from the political process.
• Grand Ayatollah Sistani ceases calls for calm, no longer takes a lead role in brokering peace.
• Muqtada al-Sadr becomes a leading voice in Shiite politics.
• Major political figures - Shiite and Sunni - openly call for retaliation.
• The Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party and Muslim Scholars Association openly call for the formation of Sunni militias.
• Iraqi Security Forces begins severing ties with the Coalition, make no effort to quell violence or provide security in Sunni neighborhoods and actively participate in attacks on Sunnis
• Shiite militias are fully mobilized, with the assistance of the government, and deployed to strike at Sunni targets.
• Sunni military officers are dismissed en masse from the Iraqi Army.
• Kurdish officers and soldiers leave their posts and return to Kurdistan, and reform into Peshmerga units.
• Attacks against other religious shrines escalate, and none of the parties make any pretense about caring.
• Coalition military forces pull back from forward positions to main regional bases.


Zeyad from Healing Iraq has more on the situation following the attack on the Golden Mosque.

Eyewitnesses and relatives from Samarra claim that American and Iraqi Interior ministry forces blocked the main street leading to the shrine at 9 pm on the night preceding the blast. It was opened again at dawn Wednesday and the troops pulled out of the area. The two blasts occurred at 6:40 and 6:45 am according to residents, while the official statement from Interior minister, Baqir Solagh has them around 7:50 and 8 am. The details on the operation are also very vague. Some sources say there was a force of 35 guards in the shrine, but there were only 4 or 5 that morning. The number of attackers has fluctuated between 4 and 15 armed men, one of them dressed in military uniform and the rest in black. PM Ja’fari mentioned yesterday that preliminary investigations pointed to ‘infiltration’ of the police, but he has not given any further details since. No word on the 10 suspects that were supposed to have been arrested yesterday either.

Another eyewitness from Samarra, who wrote to the Iraqi Rabita website, claims that 2 Iranians were arrested yesterday, and that the Al-Arabiya channel crew had filmed them. The Iranians were released when Solagh arrived at the scene. The Al-Arabiya crew was near Al-Dor, north of Samarra, surrounded by a crowd of locals, when a vehicle stopped and someone shouted: “We want the anchor,” and fired a couple of shots in the air to disperse the crowd. The Al-Arabiya anchor, Atwaar Bahjat (a very well known Iraqi journalist originally from Samarra), screamed for help but the team took her and the two cameramen. Their bullet-ridden corpses appeared this morning at the outskirts of Samarra; their footage tapes were confiscated. ...

What kind of nation are we? What kind of nation kills its intellectuals and academics, its doctors and healers, its women and children, its clerics and preachers? What kind of nation blows up churches and mosques, hotels and schools, funerals and weddings? We have left nothing sacred. Yet we have the insolence to accuse others of offending us, of vilifying us. I announce today that we have proved ourselves worthy of that vilification. Ten years ago, I denounced religion and disavowed Islam. I do not want to be forced to disavow my country and nation today, but with every new day, I’m afraid I am getting closer to it.

From the Big Pharaoh in Egypt:

Egyptian born Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi blamed the US and Israel for.............the bombing of the Shia shrine in Iraq.

"We cannot imagine that the Iraqi Sunnis did this," said the influential Sunni cleric Sheik Youssef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian who lives in Qatar. "No one benefits from such acts other than the U.S. occupation and the lurking Zionist enemy."

Qaradawi, who lives in a mansion not very far from the US military base in Qatar, is a perfect example of how some US allies such as Qatar want it both ways. The presence of US bases on their soil and excellent relations with washington, and the presence of radical crazy clerics and TV stations that appease the fundamentalists.

Saudi Arabia is another similar case. Saudi rulers want good relations with the US yet in the same time their money goes into funding one of the worst brands of religion in the world.

Unfortunately, the US can't do anything about both cases. It needs oil from Saudi and military bases from Qatar.


If the reader tries to match up the situation described by Iraq the Model against the checklist provided by the Fourth Rail it is only fair to conclude, I think, that while the situation threatens to slide into civil war it's not there yet.

If Bill Roggio was right in thinking that the al-Qaeda are behind this attack in order to provoke civil war (see previous post), they have really started on this new tactic a year and half too late. They wasted their time trying to defeat the US Armed Forces and that didn't work so well. Unfortunately the time they wasted has also provided the time for the Coalition Forces to train up hundreds of Iraqi battalions, establish a shaky but nevertheless functional national leadership core (as events are proving) and weakened Sadr. In war as in other things, timing is important.

The prospective warring parties also need a source of weapons and ammunition to really go at it. Wars need logistics and civil wars are no exception. In an ironic way, the cache-busting activities conducted by Coalition forces against insurgents, plus the campaign to seal the borders (with Syria at least) and the river lines has mowed a lot of the dry grass off the prairie. For example, just three days ago Captain Pool of the Marine sent Press Release 6-031:

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq –– More than 3,000 pieces of various types of munitions were discovered yesterday by U.S. Army soldiers conducting a reconnaissance patrol near Al Quratiyah, approximately 350 km northwest of Baghdad. This cache is among the largest discovered to date in western Al Anbar province. ... The cache of munitions ranged from 60 to 125 mm mortars and included various other projectile-type munitions ... This latest cache is the 118th found by soldiers from 4th Squadron, 14th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. In a similar find last October, soldiers here discovered about 1,000 122 mm artillery rounds, 40,000 armor piercing bullets, 1,000 .50 caliber rounds, detonation cord and various bomb-making materials.

The reason the caches existed in the first place is because those who planned on using them knew they would they would need them. Civil wars and insurgencies cannot fight on thin air and green grass. However, considering the rumors reported by the updates tinfoil hats are not in short supply.


Blogger Doug said...

Would guess there would be fewer of the caches if the run up had not been stretched out by everything from Bill's draw down, Powell's posturing, Turkey's tricks, and etc.
Then there was France!

2/23/2006 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yes, doug, but 14 of the 18 Prov. are "Calm". They are mostly Shia and Kurd and have not been searched.

Whose caches are being found? the Sunni Insurgents, of course.

Bet most of the Shia caches are still unopened.

The al-Sadr thrust " ... adjacent to Sadr city forming a line that extends from the New Baghdad district in the southeast to al-Hussayniya in the northeast ... "

could be the beginning or the end of Act 1.

2/23/2006 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Your Roggio comment disappeared from the last thread. least to my browser.
Mika's have been doing that.
Thought it was a zionist plot, but now starting to suspect Google.
You did make that comment right?
Let me know if it's gone for you also, please.

2/23/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

the sense in the streets and the statements given by some Shia clerics suggest that retaliation attacks are organized and under control and are focusing on mosques frequented by Salafi and Wahabi groups and not those of ordinary Sunnis. ...

That's the most interesting part of the report. If true the explode-a-dopes have made another huge blunder with the Samarra mosque. They would have suceeded only in motivating the Iraqis to lance a boil on the body politic - themselves.

2/23/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

"attacks are organized and under control and are focusing on mosques frequented by Salafi and Wahabi groups and not those of ordinary Sunnis"

I see this as a positive - at least WRT Wahabi elements. Joe Iraqi knows the root of the problem: the extemists of their religion.

I doubt that the found weapons caches will determine whether the average bloke will answer the call to arms should that be the case. I imagine there's an AK in every household with plenty of rounds to ward off would-be's

2/23/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I see it at 12:46 in that thread, doug.
Either the Iraqi Government and ISF step up to a degree discussed by kinch in the last thread, or the situation could spin slowly out of control of the Government.

If Mr al-Sadr is setting tight, the time is not ripe, from an Iranian viewpoint.
Let the pressures build, while Mr al-Sadr pleads for calm, his minions act mildly offensive.

Like an old fashion boiler, the pressure is building.

2/23/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Grand Ayatollah Sistani will not live forever. Let's hope he holds out until we get our boys out, 'cause when he goes anything could happen.

2/23/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Kyda Sylvester said...

Sunni political parties withdraw from the political process.

Sunni Party Quits Iraq Government Talks After Mosque Bombing

2/23/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

When the mosque first blew up, I immediately thought this was the work of al Qaeda. I have enormous respect for Bill Roggio's analysis and he also believes this was an al Qaeda provocation. However I now find myself wondering if this is the work of Muqtada al-Sadr working as an agent for the Iranian mullahs. The timing is very suspect. Also, al Qaeda could have blown up that mosque months ago. Why do this now?

I should emphasize that IMHO Muqtada al-Sadr is not very intelligent and not capable of subtle strategy (that's why he's still alive). The Iranian mullahs would be the Chess masters behind this recent provocation with al-Sadr acting as their foot soldier.

2/23/2006 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It always has been reported as being quite "Open".
Religious Pilgramage and cross border friendships etc.
as we know Mr Sistani IS Iranian, for what it matters.

But, as in London, who knows for sure, but it was not a Suicide attack.

That tidbit leads me to think it was professionals. In the employ of whom, that would be the real question.
Makes me think not of aQ, the Op not their historic style.

2/23/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Would the destruction hieghten or lessen the importance of the Imams?

Does it play against Mr Sistani?

Seems to be working out well for Mr al-Sadr. Both on the ground and in the Press.

2/23/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

desert rat,

I'm not too sure it's working well for Sadr. Here's three reasons.He invested a lot in "solidarity" with the Sunnis during Fallujah 1, but he's blown that or is rapidly blowing it now. Second, he's openly challenging Sistani and if he's connected to the Golden Mosque blast he's pissed in his own well. Third, the multinational training teams have through force of circumstances, recruited from the Shi'a. That means that the US has its own Shi'ite militia and the biggest one in town. So if they have to go after Shi'ite clerics there are lots of uniformed Shi'ites who can do it, and credibly too.

2/23/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

There is a comment on the Mooky/Iran connection at Roggio's you might be interested in.

2/23/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

I would not be surprised if Iran was involved through Al'Qaeda and/or Syria, though I have strong doubts Sadr would know of these plans.

What's that old saying about how you can't lose when you're playing both sides of the game? I think that's what the Iranians are doing right now. It is telling that the first statement made by Iran was an accusation of "Zionist and American" responsibility.

I read somewhere that the Iranian strategy was to cause America to go through three crises leading up to the Security Council hearings on nuclear proliferation. They want us to be crisis-fatigued--exhausted and out of breath--so we won't have the will to do what is necessary to stop their nuke program. From my calculations this is crisis number two.

2/23/2006 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

desert rat,

Thanks for the kind replies.

2/23/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Here is the "three crises" report, written by Ledeen:

Sometime in late November or early December, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gathered his top advisers for an overall strategic review.


[T]he overall tone of the conversation was upbeat, because the Iranians believe they see many positive developments, above all, the declaration that "it has been promised that by 8 April, we will be in a position to show the entire world that 'we are members of the club.'"


[Khamenei] stressed that it was important to compel the United States to face at least three crises by the April 8.

2/23/2006 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

I assumed that the Cartoon Kerfuffle was crisis number one, though that may have just been a gift.

According to Ledeen, the strategy is to raise oil prices by a significant amount before April (Equador?). I think the reasons are obvious.

2/23/2006 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

From D'Rat last thread, on Ecuador:

Ecuador declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and sent in the military to quell unrest in one of its oil-rich Amazonian provinces after protests shut down the country’s two main pipelines.

2/23/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You are sir, our host.

2/23/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Granted the ISF is multi ethnic.
And months ago there were reports of old Army Officers leading reconstituted Sunni units, against Sunni Insurgents.
As I said to kinch, where are their Loyalties, to the Religion, Tribe or Nation.
It would be great if the troopers loyalty were to the Unit, to an extent.
If the Army stands united, with the Government, they'll sail on through.

No matter who pulled the trigger

2/23/2006 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

I think the evidence confirms the that Sadr does not control the Mehdi Army. They control him. And they are not interested in solidarity with the Sunni Arab community of Iraq, notwithstanding Sadr's public rhetoric to the contrary.

2/23/2006 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is right in line with the scenario I'm watching, plus.
Once the Crisis "Pops", if it goes badly for Iran. Do the Crisis's stop, or escalate.
While now the Infrastructure attacks are on the edges of Production, Ecuador & Nigeria both erupt this week.
Watch for Columbia, then post crisis pop, if it starts to head South, Mexico, Panama & Kuwait.

But I'd look to a mutual defense pact of some sort: Iran, Russia, Syria, Palistine, Cuba, Venezuala, Bolivia and some of the 'Stans, come that September Summit in Havana. Even money bet.

2/23/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Desert Rat,

AQ has conducted some very switched-on ops. The most famous one was the merc op against a Blackwater convoy about two years ago.

This Op had some planning - you need to know where to put the bombs to do the damage, you need security, and you have to practice it. Someone cased the place repeatedly and they practiced it. These two major clues may give them away ultimately.

So who has the expertise? AQ. Iran. Syria. Or they bought the expertise.

2/23/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Robert Ferrigno hopes someone (Sistanni?) can get the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites to rebuild the dome together.
Thinks that would be a powerful affirmation.
Cited white Christians assisting when Black churches were burned.

2/23/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

Makes me think not of aQ, the Op not their historic style.

Yeah, I had the same thought. I hate to speculate when I know jack shit, but I am keeping Syria and Iran in mind, in that order. Syria hasn't seemed too bright lately and Iran is probably capable of almost anything.

2/23/2006 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

And once again, we come to the crux of the matter: ideas, hatreds, the human defining capacity (to know and to love) and how humans are using OR abusing that ability!

Wretchard very ably analyses the symptoms of this spiritual bankruptcy, and ugly it is.

2/23/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It could well be any of the above.

The aQ public profile runs to suicide. But that could have been then, this being now.

The Iranians, themselves, direct agents, I'd doubt. But proxied, possible.

The KSA, that idea kicks the ball along.

Mr Assad and his crew, seems a reach, to me.

The Z miester, could be. Could have been him, himself, so no Suicide.

But not mental defects or untrained hotheads.

Will we see the "Usual Suspects" rounded up?

2/23/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Some food for thought as we ponder the upcoming crises:

Here is a map of the major oil chokepoints in the world. (.pdf)

Here is a report of Hassan Abbassi's strategy discussion in mid-2004. Excerpt:

Our missiles are now ready to strike at their civilization, and as soon as the instructions arrive from Leader ['Ali Khamenei], we will launch our missiles at their cities and installations. Our motto during the war (in Iraq) was: Karbala, we are coming, Jerusalem, we are coming. And because of Khatami's policies and dialogue between the civilizations, we have been compelled to freeze our plan to liberate the Islamic cities. And now we are [again] about to carry out the program.'

"In his speech, he added: 'The global infidel front is a front against Allah and the Muslims, and we must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front, by means of our suicide operations or by means of our missiles. There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them.'

Here are a bunch of official statements, collected by a secular Iranian group:

"Until we destroy Liberal Democracy, there will be no possibility for the Appearance (of the 12th Shiite Imam."
Hassan Abbassi, Tehran, June 2nd 2004

"In order to eliminate the evil of modern infidelity, the evil of Liberal Democracy, and the evil of Human Rights, we must fight them and wipe them off the face of the earth."
‘Ya Lessarat Al Hussein’ Islamic publication, June 16th 2004.

"Yes! We know that oil is the blood that flows through your veins and your civilization is run on Arab oil, which is precisely why the departed Imam (Khomeini) said ‘shut down the oil flow’!"
Abbassi, May 2004.

"Those who say Islam is NOT a religion of war and that Islam must not kill people, do not understand Islam. The Koran says war! War! Meaning those who follow the Koran must continue the war until evil is taken out from the
world. War is a blessing for the whole world and it is a blessing from God for any nation in any environment that it may be. Why do you constantly read the verses about mercy in the Koran and ignore the verses about killing(war)?"

Ayatullah Khomeini, Tehran, December 20/21st 1984.

"This materialism and world loving entity stands in front of our religion we have the means of ruining the material world on top of his head."
Abbassi, June 2004.

2/23/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

Not to change the subject but holy crap, have you guys seen the Captured AQ Document?

2/23/2006 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...


Reading the captured AQ document demystifies the enemy. They show he can be amazingly effective but that he also bleeds, bitches and has his doubts. There's a letter from one militant to Bin Laden where the militant thinks the sky is falling on them.

2/23/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

"....Iraq has the world’s second largest oil reserves at 115 billions barrels (next to Saudi at 267). This was determined under Saddam with obsolete 2D seismic technology. Most oil geologists think that 3D seismic scans will reveal much larger reserves, particularly out in the little-explored western deserts. Iraq may turn out to have more oil than Saudi Arabia.

The Kirkuk oil field is in the north, so the Kurds have that. The Rumaila, West Qurna, and Majnoon fields are in the south, so the Shias have that. What the Sunnis haven’t figured out yet is that there may be more oil in the west than both fields combined. Western Iraq, you see, is Sunni.

It’s not just this one switch that needs to be turned on inside Sunni heads. Another is that they are never going to run Iraq as a whole ever again. For centuries, they as the ruling elite treated the Kurds as vermin and the Shia as rafida. It has to dawn on them: As only 15% of Iraqi voters are Sunni Arabs, those days are over.

The US Ambassador to Iraq and our chief negotiator for the Iraqi Constitution, Zelmay Khalizad, has not been able to explain this sufficiently to the Sunnis. If he had, they would eagerly sign up for a federated Iraq, giving them autonomy rather than taking orders from a central government they will never control.

But what good is autonomy, the Sunnis might then ask, even if we have plenty of our own oil with the 11 billion-barrel East Baghdad field and over 100 billion barrels more in the Western Desert - we’re still landlocked, we’re still at the mercy of the Shias who control our only access to the sea!

It is at this point that the third switch may be flipped inside smarter Sunni minds, as they notice the Persian Gulf isn’t the only sea around. There’s another one in the direction of the setting sun. What lies between them and the Mediterranean? Syria. With all three switches on, the wheels turn:

“Syria is broke, we have oil and thus can have money coming out of ears; we are Sunni Arab, Syria is Sunni Arab; Syria’s leader is a weakling and the government is corrupt�. Hmmmm, could Syria be for sale?”

A merger of Syria and Sunni Arab Iraq - that’s what’s in the cards should Iraq be partitioned. Syria was artificially carved out of the Ottoman Empire by the French just as Iraq was by the Brits. Although Damascus is millennia older than Baghdad, both emerged into history with the advent of Islam.

Damascus was the capital of the first “Umayyad” Caliphate during Islam’s initial century. After 750, newly-built Baghdad became the capital of the “Abbasid” Caliphate. Money pouring out of Baghdad into pockets in Damascus will smooth the way to a solution as to which city is the capital and other power-sharing arrangements.

Such a merger would of course quickly put an end to the terrorist insurgency in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle, as it would end Syria’s providing a sanctuary and support for it.....

2/23/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Handsome Hu said...

How many different "tipping points" are at play here? On a society-by-society basis, we have Iraqi, Iranian, Israeli, American, French, Danish (perhaps even Europe as a whole) and many others in motion.

The rumblings documented in the blogosphere are many and myriad and just as an event's passing seems to reduce memetic motions to obscuring dissipation, another agitation reintroduces kinetic character, and new protests emerge, new things are burnt, new deaths in small orders of magnitude occur and old reactions are spouted from the halls of power. In aristides' terms, these reactions seem aptly either the bold "stay the course" or the reckless "cut and run/change the course". The former, if you're an American, is preferred so long as your struggle is on the battlefield. Slowly but surely we can kill probably anyone and anything. Unfortunately, the battlefield no longer has names of foriegn cities. It has names like Harvard and Georgetown, Paris and Denmark.

One consequence of Huntington's clash of civilizations is that its not just the script (cultural roots not ideological ones will sprout conflict) that's changed; its also the actors.

We saw with the cartoons that the conflict was quite post-westphalian, what with competing self-aggregating assemblies (e.g. competition between free-press' customer bases [for instance] vs congregations of faithful protesters etc) with more or less governments in the background (in the West they were the chorus [US and Britain being tragically off-key] though in Syria and Iran they were more directors)

It should be expected that new actors with new scripts will produce much different theater. This would seem to put the "riots" - whether an impune gang rape on a train or weeks of organized destruction of property - in a new context of power-relationships; this would also redefine what is a victory, then? British and US kowtowing to muslim sensibilities, for instance, shows a triumphant subversion of our culture and its manifest strategies.

If that's so, the question becomes, were these pearl harbors or midways? Rumsfeld's statements about propaganda (which he made some months ago at the John Hopkins institute of advanced studies - wtg media picking that up) seem woefully behind the curve, if the above situation is about to predominate. Is the answer a renewed vision of culture? What does that even look like? Can that even be asserted without violence? We most certainly need some violence as far as our ideas are concerned. What else results will have costs...

Iran's ability to cause more crises in global systems is very worrisome. How many of these systems can adequately be protected by firepower? What if the agitations cannot be solved by smart bombs because they are just the propagation and empowerment of gullable assholes or idiotarians?

We've not only our Energy systems to lose but also our western cultural systems that can make desert navigating robots, lightning-firing IED hunters etc. All it takes is naive leaders cutting funding and America will leave the stage. So much of our strength lies in our ability to adapt; if they can stimmy that through dissonance, disagreement and internal stalemate, how much does our strategic position change?

Iraqi elections and Iraqi harmony mean scant little for Western societies welcoming barbaric thought into our societies, where it can aggregate, posture and attack our cultural institutions in a clash of civilizations that was supposed to look like the crusades but is instead documented in zombietime, and conceivably more causal, if certain elites benefit from any of the tipping points. Should i celebrate Iraqi elections by filing a claim on my smoldering car? Should I hedge myself against the impact of a destabilizing Iraq with danish goods?

Here's to hoping the blogosphere can shift things in the other direction...

2/23/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Recently Qaradawi called for calm in the Muslim world vis a vis the cartoons. On the same day (Feb. 8), Iran also called for calm.

Today, Qaradawi accused Israel and America of bombing the al Askariya mosque. Concurrently, Iran also accused Israel and America of bombing the mosque.

Just noting it, though it seems odd that authoritative Sunni voices and authoritative Shia voices are so harmonized.

Is it a coincidence, or is somebody playing a chord?

2/23/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

If there is one thing we've learned, it is that the OODA loop of our enemy is impressively fluid.

I would not be surprised if the enemy does something to take advantage of the UAE story, something that furthers other goals in the process.

2.5 million barrels a day come out of UAE, by the way. (CIA factbook)

2/23/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

aristedes, said:
I would not be surprised if the enemy does something to take advantage of the UAE story


With regard to the UAE story I'm not sure who the enemy actually is.

My gut feeling is to be very, very cautious. Then Carter comes along to defend W.

I know my accent is often difficult to understand so I'll repeat, Jimmy Carter came to the defence of the President. If my choice was W vs.Jimmy I'd go with W. If my choice is anyone vs. Jimmy I'm tongue tied.


2/23/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Actually, the fact that Carter supports the President makes me more worried than anything I can think of.

(except of course an Iranian Nuke).

My other gut part, that is not quivering, is saying OK to UAE stuff. My mind is still uncertain and would like a conference. I would like to know what Churchill and Chamberlain think.

2/23/2006 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...


Yes indeed. It was as though he were on nothing more than a business trip sizing up the local conditions for opportunites and competition. Chilling.

2/23/2006 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"In aristides' terms, these reactions seem aptly either the bold 'stay the course' or the reckless 'cut and run/change the course'."


What IS the course? Is it a course as in a circuit, as in a thing that has no end? What are we staying FOR, to the seemingly endless tune of 130,000 troops per annum?

Enquiring minds want to know.

2/23/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Trish asked
What IS the course?
There is none. There is a direction based on the talents and guts of those in charge and on the ground.

That is why we must support our troops while supporting those who lead our troops. The freedom to act is almost as important as the freedom to hit targets without missing.

The knife edge, I do not know the answer to, is when will it be time to leave Iraq? Sadly that answer is tied up into an equation consisting of American and EUropean leftists and 'others' who do not want U.S. to win.

This seems to be a problem faced by free people before. Civilization tends towards being civilized. They tend towards chaos and a hope 'they' might actually prevail.

My notes suggest that those who want America to fail are winning.

2/23/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Trish supports the troops by being married to one, arthur. My little part in this shindig.

2/23/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I am beginning to agree with Aristide's theory. Aristides notes the "three crises" report, written by Ledeen:

(the third):

[Khamenei] stressed that it was important to compel the United States to face at least three crises by the April 8.

It's entirely possible that Khamenei, Rafsanjani & Co. have engineered these three events to hide the completion of their A-bomb.

Other events that are note worthy:

A) France reconfigures their sea based nuclear missiles for greater distance and accuracy (by removing a reentry vehicle).

B) The UAE get's a fat contract from the USA. The UAE just happens to sit upon one of the closest sea points to Iran and would make an excellent launching point for sea and air operations on Iran.

Since the evidence is mounting that Iran has the most to gain from these events Iran should be considered a prime suspect.

Further, I think it would be not too difficult to focus the blame on Iran. If that works then it just may be the right time to eliminate Khamenei & Co's nuclear weapons program (along with the rest of the rat's nest).

2/23/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

"4) The enemies’ accusation about the person that he is a sectarian is not true. He says
“you plan and I will execute”, and he does execute."

Huh.This was an interesting tidbit. Who do we accuse of being a sectarian?

2/23/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...


When this happened I immediately thought of Iran. Why? Iran stands to gain the most from a more open Iraqi civil war. The rumours have been flying that al Zawahiri is in Iran and perhaps Zarkhawi may have executed this plan on behalf of Iranian planning with the blessing of his al Q boss. Iran would dearly like us out of Iraq or at least very incapacitated there. My cynical appreciation for the inegenuity of corruption and evil leads me to think of Iran as being behind this, despite the mosque being an important Shi'a site. The mullahs probably have no problem with that kind of collateral damage.

2/23/2006 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

No, prob not the Bomb itself but the UN SC vote on sanctions, coming up very soon. Cartoon Riots tied to the IAEA referral, and one more intimidation attempt just before the sanctions vote. Listen, these Mullahs are nuts--Israel is watching the bomb-making, they'll bust that thing wide open the minute it's ready. right? RIGHT?

2/23/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iran = Hezbollah?

The "A" Team

2/23/2006 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

One other thing about this attack that I find curious is the *lack* of destruction. It seems to me not as great as it could have been: the charges were carefully placed and they blew off the dome. The dome was only finished in 1907 and will probably not be that hard to replace. If one *really* wanted to desecrate the place, blowing up the tombs would have been the way to go.

2/23/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Rufus - this makes the most sense.

Those charges were placed to do the most damage to the roof -causing it to cave in.

They had some serious expertise in designing and placing those charges.

This looks more and more like Iran or Syria.

"We will keep destroyng Mosques until you do x"

2/23/2006 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

I believe, Like Arthur Dent presents, that it's the same AQ w/Syria backing, and to me indicates more desparation: moslem target, no suicide to keep attrition low of trained warriors, Shia Shrine of importance, etc...but I'm an optimist in this affair.
To me, it's obvious that Islam has been hijacked by special interest groups for political gain. By definition these groups strive to affect the will of the whole, the masses. These groups consider themselves elites, and as common to all elites, they feel that the rules do not apply to them...basically, they are gaming the system, though they'd never admit it.
Most importantly, the point here is these are political matters; not religious. State sponsored religion, or more correctly religion sponsored states; for instance in Iran, with the mullahs having the final say on all matters, has been a flop - for both sides: the sanctity of religious beliefs as well as the continuity of governance; both have consequently suffered from this innate conflict of values.
To be righted, this grand experiment needs to be dismantled much like the preceeding Industrial, scientific & technological revolutions the Truth Revolution must follow; however, in this case the necessary step of separation of church and state must occur.
The major problem is the closed nature of these moslem countries. Similar to what happened after the fall of the Iron Curtain w/Glasnost, and the Bamboo Curtain in China; the Moslem Curtain needs to be recognized and their societies opened up to the light of day with an atmosphere where truth and reasoning can emerge in the populace.
The regimes in these countries are currently terrified of religious freedom; this freedom is available to the citizens of every industrialized, westernized, Christianized country, but not theirs. Women and children fare so poorly in most, not all, moslem countries; discrimination and prejudice are the constant target of the preachings of mullahs - but not practiced.
If moslems actually fear something about these matters they should look into these matters and discuss.
Moslems must distance themselves from special interest groups suchas the mullahs & AQ in order to maintain the moral high ground.

A Christian, Arab friend of mine, from whom this post borrows quite a few ideas, himself has a dream:

"...when men and women, boys and girls of all tongues, tribes, races & places can make the choice accepting or rejecting the revelation of God in Christ Jesus and not be stuck from their birth to their death with Islam, Christianity or any other religion...I believe if they accept Christ, please note I did not say Christianity or the Christian religion, they can learn to love God above all else and through his holy spirit they can love and forgive one another and live in peace..."

2/24/2006 09:49:00 AM  

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