Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 23, 2006

"A joy for all who see"

"A joy for all who see" is the original name of the city Samarra.

But now, this beautiful and historic mosque in Samarra is a ruin. Whoever wanted to sow more sectarian strife in Iraq certainly picked the right target and time. The violence is growing by the hour.

Raed says, whoever planed this, will not succeed. Riverbend is just very afraid and Christopher Allbritton thinks the situation will get worse now.

The Shia will need to vent somewhere. If their leaders are smart and really want to prevent a civil war, they will direct the outrage to the only other available group - the occupation force.

Even if the U.S. might not be directly responsible for this, without its war of aggression on Iraq, the mosque would still be as pretty as it was. That logic will not escape anyone.

The political influence of the United States in the Middle East is getting less by the day. Rice, trying to isolate Hamas, has just been snubbed in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

But now she is off to Lebanon to get pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud removed from office. If she succeeds, a new Lebanese civil war will start. Now that would be a great success.

To support Rice's standing during her visit in the Arab world, Israel bulldozed a new public park and playground in the West Bank. You see, there was no Israeli building permit.

A fun detail: US AID had payed for the project.

I wonder who payed the bulldozer.

Posted by b on February 23, 2006 at 12:59 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Good post b.

Posted by: beq | Feb 23 2006 13:13 utc | 1

if ever there is a time to prayer it is now.my prayers today are for some magical healing to to rest over the entire region.

Posted by: annie | Feb 23 2006 14:38 utc | 2

Bismillah ir rahman ir rahim

The phrase is often translated as

"In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate".

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 23 2006 15:05 utc | 3

all part of the great game renewed no doubt. i want to scream.

Posted by: annie | Feb 23 2006 15:06 utc | 4

maa3assalaama

Posted by: annie | Feb 23 2006 15:12 utc | 5

Boy, was that a beautiful mosque. Sure puts the average strip mall evangelical pit stop to shame. Thank god we are so much more civilized then them.

Wolfowitz and Perle must be wetting their pants with all this 'creative disorder.'

Sad to say, but anything that lessens American influence is good in the long run. That is if we survive long enough to appreciate it.

Posted by: Malooga | Feb 23 2006 16:13 utc | 6

I'm spewing trying to argue semantics, anything rather than look at the mindless slaughter the 'hammer' has wrought on the people of Iraq.

The first sign of potential trouble came Monday :
US envoy warns against sectarian Iraqi government

"BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The American ambassador to Iraq issued a tough warning to Iraqi leaders on Monday, saying Washington would not tolerate sectarianism or militias in the new government and its security forces.

"The ministers of interior, defense, national intelligence, the national security adviser have to be people who are non- sectarian, broadly acceptable, non-militia-related that will work for all Iraqis," Zalmay Khalilzad told a news conference.

"The United States is investing billions of dollars into these forces, military and police forces of Iraq. American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly. We are not going to invest the resources of the American people into forces run by people who are sectarian..."

Iraqi leaders have yet to start serious talks on forming a new government more than two months after parliamentary elections, and negotiations filled with sectarian landmines could last months.

Some of the most explosive arguments will be about control of the currently Shi'ite-run Interior Ministry, accused by Arab Sunnis of sanctioning death squads linked to a party in the Shi'ite alliance which will have the biggest bloc in parliament. The ministry denies the charges.

The timing of the departure of U.S. troops hinges on the performance of Iraqi security forces and army against Sunni insurgents.

So far few units are capable of protecting themselves -- let alone other Iraqis -- from guerrilla bombings and shootings that have killed many thousands of people.

Militias tied to the main political parties who Iraqis say act with impunity have undermined the credibility of security forces and exacerbated sectarian tensions.

By Monday afternoon, the interior Ministry released this:

Suicide bomber on Baghdad bus kills at least 12

"BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber strapped with explosives blew himself up on a bus in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 12 people, Interior Ministry sources said.

The attack in the mostly Shi'ite Muslim Kadhimiya district wounded at least nine people, the sources said.

The explosion followed a relative lull in bombings over the past few weeks

That was soon to pale into insignificance with this:

Iraqi blast damages Shia shrine

A bomb attack in Iraq has badly damaged one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam, sparking furious protests.

Thousands of Iraqis have gathered at the al-Askari shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad, where two men blew up the famous golden dome in a dawn raid.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual head of Iraq's Shia Muslims, has called for a week of mourning.

Shias in Baghdad attacked at least five Sunni mosques in reprisal raids, with disturbances reported in other cities.

The BBC's Jon Brain in Baghdad says the attack was almost certainly designed to raise the existing tensions between the majority Shia and minority Sunni populations.

Shias distraught

The shrine is one of two tombs in Samarra for revered Shia imams, which attract pilgrims from around the world.

It was attacked one day after at least 22 people died when a car bomb exploded in a market in a Shia neighbourhood of southern Baghdad.

After that it was game on:

There was slaughter in the streets:

The death toll from violence sparked by the bombing of a Shia shrine in Samarra rose to at least 78 today, heightening fears that Iraq is sliding towards civil war.

Police and military sources said most of the dead were Sunnis, killed in the 24 hours since the attack that destroyed the golden dome on the al-Askari shrine, one of Shia Islam's most revered sites.".....

....."Nearly 50 people were pulled from buses and shot dead in the Nahrawan area, south-east of Baghdad. Their bodies were later found behind a brick factory.

Sixteen people were killed, including eight civilians, and 21 injured when a bomb aimed at an army foot patrol exploded in a busy market in Baquba, north-east of Baghdad.

Earlier one person was killed and two injured when gunmen opened fire on a Sunni mosque in the town.

Iraqi police also reported finding some 50 bodies - many with bound hands - at sites around Baghdad, but it was not immediately clear if this figure included the 40 recovered in Nahrawan.".....

Redefinition of Iraqi 'Freedom of Speech':

"A prominent al-Arabiya TV reporter and two of her crew, who had gone to cover the attack on the shrine, were killed near Samarra on Thursday morning. Correspondent Atwar Bahjat's body was among the three found about 15km (10 miles) north of the city.

Elsewhere, at least 12 people died in a bomb attack on an Iraqi army patrol while one person died in a gun attack on a Sunni mosque in the town of Baquba. "....

and a Proposal to end prison overcrowding:

"In Basra, which is predominantly Shia, men dressed in police uniform took 11 Sunni prisoners from a prison. They were later found dead at various sites in the of the city. Officials put the overall death toll in Basra at 25."

Did it all begin as a play by Shia elements to show Sunni couldn't be trusted with Govt, a Sunni inspired punctuation of Zalmay Khalilzad's point, or, a typical Imperialist take with one hand while you give with the other ploy?

At least 78 people are dead, we do know that. People who would still be living breathing entities if the leadership of the US made the people of the US understand that they should pay for everything same as the rest of the world does now.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Feb 23 2006 16:19 utc | 7

b: "Even if the U.S. might not be directly responsible for this, without its war of aggression on Iraq, the mosque would still be as pretty as it was. That logic will not escape anyone."

I must say it escapes me to a certain extent. The problem with the argument is not that it is speculative. It smacks of blaming the US for everything. Hey, one of my favourite pastimes, occasionally, but it seems over the top in this case. That is, until there are more infos/half-truths/rumours as to who 'really' blew up the mosque. I guess CIA and Mossad must have been blamed by now, no matter if there is a shred of evidence. If you are merely speculating about the demagogic instincts of Shia leaders, b, then I am over the top here. But in our own small way, we are shaping reality, too, aren't we?

Posted by: teuton | Feb 23 2006 17:00 utc | 8

@teuton - It smacks of blaming the US for everything.

Not everything and I did write consciencely "might not".
a. We do not know who blew up the mosque, only that it was done in a quite professional way. The only group I would probably exclude from a list is the Shias. We do not know why this happened either. But it could well be that this is a consequence of the never ending U.S. medling in the Iraq desaster.
b. I do rightfully blame the U.S. for the consequences of the war it started. The attack on the mosque is such a consequence.

Posted by: b | Feb 23 2006 17:37 utc | 9

The only group I would probably exclude from a list is the Shias.

what about some secular shias? if the american are not going to 'tolerate' sectarian rule? it would have to be a group totally committed to ' nothing standing in my way.' ruthless enough to pull out all the stops. who are the most powerful puppets. who would be willing to sell their souls. only someone with no value, to desecrate of this proportaion. obviously this is to inflame a civil war. follow the money. there is no way the administration is going to leave unless the rosy scenario of iraqi's policing themselves emerges. who has the most to gain from the civil war? the ones who want total war. there must be some people who don't want the occupation to leave. i would not exclude all shia from this catagory.

Posted by: annie | Feb 23 2006 18:07 utc | 10

@teuton - It smacks of blaming the US for everything.

"You break it, you own it." Colin Powell

The US is meddling in everything: The laws, social relations based on them, 'advisors' in every government department and warren, threatening to withhold funding, and of course we purposefully reduced the country to a shadow of itself over a period of 15 years now, greatly increasing tensions between groups because scarcity is now a fact of life; it wasn't before. If you extrapolate American caused deaths to US population, you have the equivalent of over 1.5 Million people killed, 1/2 % of the population. God knows how many injured, maybe 2%, maybe mouch more. This is a slow genocide. And how many lives destroyed. Then we have the nightly bombing raids, conveniently not covered by the press. Then the DU, skyrocketing birth defects.

Of course, the US denies any responsibility for all of this, all of which is illegal, and denies reparations, but steals Iraq's money with coerced contracts with American firms.

What I'm getting at is this: The effects of US actions on the country far, far, far exceed the effects of internicine ethnic conflict. The press doesn't want you to know this. Therefore Shia-Sunni rivalry is played up and US-Iraqi conflict is almost overlooked. Read "The Fateful Triangle" about Vietnam and you will see this is an old game. Don't fall for it.

Additionally, if we can't solve the whole problem, let's start by solving the part we are responsible for: Get our troops out and pay reparations. Then we can blame others with a much clearer conscience.

Posted by: Malooga | Feb 23 2006 18:22 utc | 11

When I'm upset and take it out on my cats, they start fighting, which they never do otherwise. Who is responsible for their fighting: the one who threw the first paw, or me?

Posted by: Malooga | Feb 23 2006 18:28 utc | 12

malooga,

I assume that one of your cats is named "Sunny" and the other "Shiity"...

Posted by: ralphieboy | Feb 23 2006 18:34 utc | 13

One of the reasons often cited for U.S. staying the course in Iraq is "to prevent civil war". But as this mosque bombing and prior atrocities show, civil war is already ongoing.

We should be getting out, but just watch. This civil war will now be used by neocons as an excuse to escalate and spread the biggest profitmaking venture of all time. It's just the beginning of their world war four.

Posted by: gylangirl | Feb 23 2006 19:11 utc | 14

To paraphrase Honest Abe:

Now Iraq is about to be engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure...

At least Dick Cheney can be justified in his assertion that "the insurgency is in its last throes." This ain't insurgency any more, Dick, it's a lot hairier than that.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Feb 23 2006 19:26 utc | 15

debs @ annie

thanks for the links

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 23 2006 19:40 utc | 16

"'The ministers of interior, defense, national intelligence, the national security adviser have to be people who are non- sectarian, broadly acceptable, non-militia-related that will work for all Iraqis,' Zalmay Khalilzad told a news conference"

But... but...Wouldn't that be Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party?

Posted by: pb | Feb 23 2006 21:09 utc | 17

This whole situation was predicted years ago, Brent Scrowcroft said it would happen, anyone with any smarts knew it would happen. All but those syupid f---ing neo-cons. They all need to be, along with their media cheerleaders tried for treason. We had no business invading Iraq, we were lied to to get into the war and it has cost us precious treasure and lives.

Murtha talked about this and was blasted. The conservatives have no clothes. They have been laid bare by their miscalculation and complete unadulterated incompetence. This admin and it's congressional and media cheerleaders have screwed up more than any admin I've ever seen.

I could rant on but I'm sure you get my drift.

Posted by: jdp | Feb 24 2006 0:07 utc | 20

@Malooga Yep, the only alternative would be a bloke I have a grudging respect for even if he does come across as a fundie loon I expect he is the most determined mainchancer in Iraq. Moqtada al-Sadr.

My respect is for the fact that he seems to be the only player who doesn't have a foreign power in his corner.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Feb 24 2006 0:08 utc | 21

Fox's Bill O'Reilly now says we should get out of Iraq.

Posted by: | Feb 24 2006 1:07 utc | 22

@debs:

"Mookie" sure is proving to be the wiliest and shrewdest politician around, especially considering how green they made him out to be.

@ralphieboy:

No, but both cats do have Arabic names: Ahmed and Lila, named with the help of my Palestinian friends on St. Croix. Or more properly, Commodore Ahmed Peabody Mushman III (Mr. Mush), and Dame Lila H. F. Quackery (Miss Lila).

Warning, only use link if you want to see pictures of cats kayaking. (Could be dangerous to your own cat's mental health if you get any ideas.)

Posted by: Malooga | Feb 24 2006 5:45 utc | 23

I keep thinking about the Blitz and how the Londoners used to look up at the dome of St Paul's, still standing... still standing... And it seems to me the mosque at Samarra was like St Paul's. Something previous, more than just a religious symbol, a piece of architecture and history that embodied the spirit of a city. All that beauty and workmanship vandalised... something more than just a temple or a mosque is destroyed when a "name-thing" (something unique to a place, a culture, a tradition, an aesthetic) is trashed like this. I can't really put it into words but it's a dreadful vandalism.

Like the Roundheads smashing stained glass windows, the Taliban smashing the Buddhist sculptures. There's a greater human value, transcending religions and sects and schisms, that is being pissed on here: our respect for art, for craftsmanship and dedication and the love and passion it takes to create beauty on a grand scale... hell, I can't put this into words properly but this ongoing destruction of the cultural and architectural legacy of Iraq is heartbreaking. Too depressed to say much more, and besides DiD said it all..

BTW Debs, I notice the Howard gummint in Oz is making a fairly concentrated assault on aboriginal rights and related efforts, really trying to erase or rehabilitate the colonial past. Any coordinated effort being mounted in NZ by the white elites?

Posted by: DeAnander | Feb 24 2006 7:07 utc | 24

oops precious not previous

Posted by: DeAnander | Feb 24 2006 7:08 utc | 25

Way OT.

Just jumping in to thank Malooga for a) taking the cats there b) taking photos and c) posting them.

I've been looking at sailboats, (no, not shopping) it's an annual ritual now that I live near accessible water, go to the boat show, search endlessly on the internet (yachtworld.com is good) and then try to actually sit in one or two to see how it feels ...

Anyway, we wonder how our cats would do in boats. They don't really like the car, but have patiently endured one plane flight ... and then I recently saw more photographic and textual evidence of cats who live aboard sailboats, and some that seem to enjoy smaller boats as well.

So all is not lost, I remember something like "Be a hep cat, be a ship's cat! Lucifer Sam, you're my main man!"

Turns out that is Pink Floyd's -- the Google (Google is your friend) says "Be a hip cat, be a ship's cat. Somewhere, anywhere. That cat's something I can't explain."

So hi to all you hip cats, there's a whole lot of knowledge going round, knowledge in the sense of The Knowledge, London routes and lore passed down from cabbie to cabbie, but allegedly taught in schools like I saw on the tv so as to make it legitimately and law-abidingly available to all and sundry.

Again, thanks for the photos maloo-oo-ga.

And you other cabbies.

Posted by: jonku | Feb 24 2006 8:26 utc | 26

Hmm I don't know if I'd call em happy cats. They seem to have that prickle-haired pointy eared thing goin on that cats use to let you know you're sailing right at the edge of their tolerance.

I've had a few mates who have taken cats to sea, it generally seems to work best if the cat comes aboard as a kitten.

They can still do their me me me to the point of stupidity thing and come unstuck. eg sea birds take a particular pleasure in meeting cats on their turf and the motley crew that take to hanging off yer wake in the hope bludging whatever's going can take a special delight in taunting moggies. The outcome is pretty inevitable. Bird lures cat closer and closer to edge until cat makes decisive leap, bird soars off, cat in water looking about as happy as a hat fulla assholes. Not a whole lot makes a cat laugh. Being humiliated by falling in the water only to be surrounded by dive bombing birds squarking with derision aint one of em.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Feb 24 2006 10:08 utc | 27

"Not a whole lot makes a cat laugh."

Well, Did, you have. I've laughed out loud at your expurgations.

I've only seen a wet housecat once, but I onse saw a video of a tiger swimming across a pond to catch a deer. Probably the deer was staked out for the shoot -- who the hell knows how they do that -- but the bastard swam across the fereakin waterhole. How cool is that?

Posted by: jonku | Feb 24 2006 10:33 utc | 28

@ Malooga
Nice cats. Thanks. What is it so restful about that luxurious, bird-centric other world they carry with them? The cameraman at our house mostly misses the moments, or I'd be posting the grey and white mound of fur curled beside the keyboard, silent, motionless, except for the steady rise and fall of a grey side just above a haunch.

Posted by: small coke | Feb 24 2006 10:51 utc | 29

@ Did
LOL. Yes, there's that too. When they aren't representing how easy and graceful life can be, cats offer a pretty high entertainment option. I think mine have it figured, that once the deed is done, playing the clown will mitigate human wrath and its consequences.

Posted by: small coke | Feb 24 2006 11:11 utc | 30

From Baghdad dweller:

Testimonies of two eyewitnesses near the bombed Dome:

Witness 1:

I live in a district very near to the mosque and I will tell you exactly what I saw hours before the bombing.

There is a daily curfew in our city (Samarra) starts from 8,00 in the evening until 6,00 in the morning, in the night before the bombing and just when it’s getting dark there was unusual activities by the ING in the area around the mosque, I heard their cars the whole night until next day in the morning.

The Mosque Guards testimony says: Four people with ING uniforms blind folded them and set the bombs.

The witness continues, so ask I you how could the terrorists enter the area which is usually surrounded by the ING and enter the mosque then runway without being got by the police?

(...)

http://www.roadstoiraq.com/?p=723#comments>Link

From Times on Line:

(...)

The revenge attacks started within minutes of the devastating dawn blast (...)

The reprisal attack on al-Quds Sunni mosque in western Baghdad was typical. Residents ran for cover as more than a dozen masked Shia gunmen raked the building with bullets. The firing halted as suddenly as it had begun. The men stepped back into their six saloons and pulled away slowly, singing and waving jubilant V-signs from the windows. They were ushered from the scene by soldiers from an Iraqi National Guard checkpoint, who cheered and waved.

(...)

http://www.roadstoiraq.com/?p=723#comments>Link


Pretty blatant, eh what?

Posted by: Noisette | Feb 24 2006 16:28 utc | 31

Pentagon-Controlled Iraqi National Guard Implicated in Samarra Mosque Bombing

As the “non-partisan” Council on Foreign Relations assures us, Iraqi National Guard troops are trained and fully “vetted” by the Pentagon. “National guard troops receive three weeks of formal training and then on-the-job training by working with U.S. forces,” a CFR backgrounder explains. “The National Guard has replaced the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps as the largest security force in Iraq,” reports the World Tribune. “The 45,000-member force has been trained and equipped by the United States, with help from Britain and Jordan.” In short, the Iraqi National Guard is a subsidiary of the Pentagon, organized and trained to do the bidding of the Anglo-American occupation forces and their installed minions. Thus it should come as no surprise the Iraqi National Guard may play an important role in the recent bombing of the Golden Dome mosque in Samarra, according to locals.

Posted by: annie | Feb 24 2006 17:48 utc | 32

Yeah I had noticed over the last 24 hours news reports were starting to say the bombers had uniforms on without specifying which they were.

The 'interior ministry' lynchers were pretty obvious from the start. I mean we're meant to believe that somehow terrorists got inside the jail and instead of freeing everyone lynched them?

But most of all the timing. If the reprisals began "within minutes" it would be fair to say that smacks of collusion. How sad. It is a typical Imperialist take with one hand while you give with the other ploy.

This is one Reichstag fire that will never come out in the US since everybody is far more concerned with which particular faceless corporate asshole runs their ports.

It does mean things are getting desperate though. The US has elected to keep the insurgency going rather than try and meet the disparate needs of the rising Shia politicians versus the more established Sunni power structure.

Keeping this on track will require the presence of more foreign troops not less so the recycling of the US national guard etc should continue for quite a while yet.

I guess they are hoping that now some of the Sunni leadership have been forced to the surface, that they can make it a more 'conventional war' but since no one wants to give a inch a much more likely outcome is for that leadership to be sacrificed ASAP lest their connections be unravelled.

The unofficial ceasfire appears to have led to a complacency that could backfire badly.

Take Nigeria which has a very powerful and organised state repression apparatus. Yesterday this story made the low level interest pages. Low level because ostensibly it's about those cartoons. Remember them. Ancient news at least two weeks old. But this isn't about cartoons this is really about the divide and rule colonial strategy coming home to roost. Note that a certain John Negroponte has something to say on the issue:

Five days of violence by Nigerian Christians and Muslims kill 150

By Christian Allen Purefoy in Lagos
Published: 24 February 2006

Clashes between Nigeria's Muslim and Christian communities have left nearly 150 people dead and thousands displaced after five days of violence sparked originally by the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed.

In the southern city of Onitsha, where the worst of the killing took place, Christians yesterday burnt the corpses of their victims and defaced mosques in revenge for attacks on Christians in the north of the country earlier this week.

As several bodies burnt on pyres of flaming tyres and the stench of charred flesh filled the air, police began to clear away the dead lying at the sides of Onitsha's dirt roads.".....

....."Last Saturday, violence broke out in Maiduguri, northern Nigeria, leaving at least 15 Christians dead and 11 churches in flames. The riots were led by Muslims furious at the cartoons, published in Danish and other European newspapers. More than 100 people were arrested and the army was called in to help the police. In revenge, on Tuesday morning, riots broke out against the Muslim population in the Christian city of Onitsha.".....

....."With their mosques and businesses burnt, more than 3,000 Muslim men, women and children have overwhelmed the local barracks, police stations and mosques seeking protection. The Red Cross reports more than 100 people dead in Onitsha "so far", and says it has treated about 70 injured."..... "

....."Nigerian analysts believe much of the violence is fuelled by political tensions concerning national elections in 2007. "This type of protest has a political undertone," said Mr Umeh.
The country is rife with rumour that President Olusegun Obasanjo may try to change the constitution and seek a third term, while others seek to use violence to further their political influence and position in the forthcoming elections. "Speculation that President Obasanjo will try to change the constitution so he can seek a third term is raising political tension and if proven true, threatens to unleash major turmoil and conflict," John Negroponte, the US intelligence chief, said this month.
"Such chaos in Nigeria could lead to disruption of oil supply, secessionist moves by regional governments and instability elsewhere in Africa," he added.".....

....."Some in Onitsha have set deadlines for the Hausa community to leave. The city's deputy police commissioner, Haz Iwendi, said: "The various state governors are meeting to ensure that this does not snowball.".....

What is Negroponte doing around this? Take a look at the last coupla pars where it seems some sort of 'death squads' are chasing Muslims outta the South. Hey the South isn't that where the oil is? Yep. It is getting increasingly difficult to get the oil out:

US demands release of abducted Nigeria oil workers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States called for the unconditional release of three American oil workers abducted in Nigeria on Saturday and said it was working with Nigeria's government to try to secure their freedom.

Militants seeking more local control over the vast oil wealth of the Niger Delta region stormed an offshore barge operated by U.S. oil services company Willbros in pre-dawn attacks and abducted nine workers -- three Americans, one Briton, two Thais, two Egyptians and a Filipino.

"We can now confirm reports that three American oil workers have been taken hostage in Nigeria. We call for their unconditional release and are working with the Nigerian government on this," said State Department official Noel Clay.".....

....."The abduction was one of a string of attacks in the world's eighth largest oil exporter. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta also bombed a major oil export platform and sabotaged two pipelines."

If I was really paranoid I would also tie the alleged attempted coup in the Philippines to the chaos:

MANILA (Reuters) - President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared emergency rule in the Philippines on Friday after the military said it foiled a coup attempt, but analysts criticized the move as unwarranted and potentially damaging to the economy.

Police used fire hoses and batons to disperse 5,000 protesters, including nuns and priests, and arrested three of their leaders near a shrine that was a focal point of a 1986 revolt against dictator Ferdinand Marcos and another in 2001 that ousted Joseph Estrada as president."....

...."Talk of plots against Arroyo, who survived a crisis last year over allegations of vote-rigging and corruption, has been running high around this week's anniversary of the 1986 "people power" revolution.

Military commanders and Arroyo's allies expressed support for her decision but Gilbert Remulla, an opposition leader in Congress, said the government was "creating chaos and confusion"."....

I mean clearly she is just as corrupt as any other 'leaders' filipinos have been forced to suffer, however the situation on Mindanao* has calmed somewhat during her reign. Not very good if there is a world-wide move to make xtians the cannon-fodder in an attempt to wrestle control of resources outta the hands of the traditional owners and into the hands of the usual suspects.

*Mindanao
"Containing about 80% of the country's iron reserves, Mindanao is one of the richest islands in the Philippines."

Once again populations of the not over-developed world who lack any resource wealth, thank their lucky stars for not being cursed with oil, gold, iron, uranium etc.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Feb 24 2006 20:42 utc | 33

Malooga has said it:

US black op.

You KNOW it is not a secular group because they do not want heightened religious emotions. This is the worst possible outcome for them. Absolute worst.

The shi'ites can be counted out: They have lost more than any temporary, temporal gain.

The sunnis would do it only if they were crazy: The blowback from this will certainly hurt them more than the possible strategic gain of being TOSSED out of the puppet government instead of HAVING to WALK out.

It follows the Israeli pattern of Arab management. When you can't kill them yourself, try to get them fighting amongst themselves. I would happily be labeled a tinfoil-hatter for this, were it not already public that the US has asked for and received expert Israeli security advice.

That plus Negroponte and PNAC's creative chaos and there you are.

There is really no doubt at all.

Or is there? Maybe the Russians have slipped in a pseudo US black-ops team? This would be beyond brilliant if they could do it. Don't think they can, though. Now THAT would be a spy-thriller to write!

Debs is dead--Yes, the War for Oil is world wide, and Nigeria is its hottest spot in Africa. You can be sure that Negroponte is trying to solve the problem, in his usual way.

Posted by: Gaianne | Feb 25 2006 4:30 utc | 34

Naw! The 'coup' thing in Manila is just part of the seasonal cycle. Doubtless there are all sorts of (American mostly) agents of influence every time -- but mostly it is just the usual Byzantine power play.

The Philippines is quite interesting, though, as a model for what America might look like in a few years.

Posted by: DM | Feb 25 2006 4:43 utc | 35

There is a strange ironic twist that the demonstrations to mark the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos had to be cancelled because Martial Law has been declared. Imelda must be celebrating by buying another pair of shoes.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Feb 25 2006 10:24 utc | 36

I'm not so sure the Shiites(leadership) can be counted out in the recent bombing. Several events in the formation of the new government, and the pressure being exerted by the US ambassador Khalizad might indicate that the Shia (and Iran) would be the beneficiaries from such an event. The US has recently actively been working to remove members of both the Badr and Mahdi (Shia) militias from the Iraqi security forces, and particularily removing them from the Interior ministry, if not replacing its control over to some secular (Allawi) entity. Khalizad has also lobbied for more inclusion of (Allawis list again) Sunni incorporation into the formation of the new government, going so far (last week) as to threaten removal of US funds in support of the new government. And coupled with the systematic degeneration of oil production capacity (and its revenue) over the past several months and in light of a virtual halt in reconstruction funds from the US -- the Shiite political leadership may be saying "don't throw me in that brier patch" to US interests. The bombing of the mosque adds a third rail to the debate with the US in that it simultaniously, and with an accelerated populist (and clerical) voice, underlines the need for even stronger militia control in the security forces, while at the same time pushing out the US efforts of bringing the Sunnis into the government, least of all relinquishing control over Interior. So they accomplish an assortment of otherwise difficult negotiation positions, in the consolidation of their power through altering the context (in the negotiations with Khalizad). This, and the weird fact that the guards of the mosque, surely Shiite, were not killed by the bombers as you would expect from Zarquawi or insurgents -- but simply tied up.

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 25 2006 10:42 utc | 37

The "brier patch" analogy would indicate that the Shia are not really in fear of the sectarian, civil war scenario, and are saying "bring it on" as a method to alter the context of negotiations -- by showing the need, in popular terms, of more control and autonomy. And since the US is'nt throwing any more money on the table, while at the same time asking for concessions -- they're just bringing up that old trump card (that they've always held) that says (to the US) if we revolt -- you're history.

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 25 2006 11:05 utc | 38

A commenter on Juan's blog makes the good point that Israel has every holy site guarded with absolute security 24/7. At the very least, this demonstrates what a joke "Iraqi sovereignity" really is.

The PBS News analysis last night could be summed up in one word: ZARQAWI!

It amazes me that a "free" society, and remember these programs are meant for the elite, could believe such a myth. Never has the guy been seen. Never in history that I can recall has there been a religious/political movement without a public wing issuing forth an ideology, goals and pronouncements. Oh yes, I forgot, they are (uniquely) mad, and their analogy is: Hate. duh.

Then Gwen Ifill, and all the other merry mouseketeers that make up the news analysis crew, tittered and opined away at whether or not there is, or will be, civil war. By recent reports we, us, the USAans, have killed up to 1% of the total population! The civil war meme, and the US's desire to foment it, is purely to deflect from our atrocities and Iraq's general desire to see us leave. That and the fact that, as Jamail reports, the government is openly contesting the occupying forces and the IMF.

Elite consensus is now to attempt to partition Iraq in order to force compliance of the parts, which cannot be acheived of the whole. This is stated in op-eds throughout the country. Zalmay Khalilizad even looks like the devil.

The smartest thing I have read yet, by Dahr Jamail, who is probably closest to the situatuion and has the best sources.

The most important question to ask regarding the bombings of the Golden Mosque in Samarra on the 22nd is: who benefits?

Prior to asking this question, let us note the timing of the bombing. The last weeks in Iraq have been a PR disaster for the occupiers.

First, the negative publicity of the video of British soldiers beating and abusing young Iraqis has generated a backlash for British occupation forces they’ve yet to face in Iraq.

Indicative of this, Abdul Jabbar Waheed, the head of the Misan provincial council in southern Iraq, announced his councils’ decision to lift the immunity British forces have enjoyed, so that the soldiers who beat the young Iraqis can be tried in Iraqi courts. Former U.S. proconsul Paul Bremer had issued an order granting all occupation soldiers and western contractors immunity to Iraqi law when he was head of the CPA…but this province has now decided to lift that so the British soldiers can be investigated and tried under Iraqi law.

This deeply meaningful event, if replicated around Iraq, will generate a huge rift between the occupiers and local governments. A rift which, of course, the puppet government in Baghdad will be unable to mend.

The other huge event which drew Iraqis into greater solidarity with one another was more photos and video aired depicting atrocities within Abu Ghraib at the hands of U.S. occupation forces.

The inherent desecration of Islam and shaming of the Iraqi people shown in these images enrages all Iraqis.

In a recent press conference, the aforementioned Waheed urged the Brits to allow members of the provincial committee to visit a local jail to check on detainees; perhaps Waheed is alarmed as to what their condition may be after seeing more photos and videos from Abu Ghraib.

Waheed also warned British forces that if they didn’t comply with the demands of the council, all British political, security and reconstruction initiatives will be boycotted.

Basra province has already taken similar steps, and similar machinations are occurring in Kerbala.

Basra and Misan provinces, for example, refused to raise the cost of petrol when the puppet government in Baghdad, following orders from the IMF, decided to recently raise the cost of Iraqi petrol at the pumps several times last December.

The horrific attack which destroyed much of the Golden Mosque generated sectarian outrage which led to attacks on over 50 Sunni mosques. Many Sunni mosques in Baghdad were shot, burnt, or taken over. Three Imams were killed, along with scores of others in widespread violence.

This is what was shown by western corporate media.

As quickly as these horrible events began, they were called to an end and replaced by acts of solidarity between Sunni and Shia across Iraq.

This, however, was not shown by western corporate media....

Posted by: Malooga | Feb 25 2006 14:43 utc | 39

i recieve updates regularly from Dahr Jamail dispatch. this just arrived in my inbox w/out link. there is a link to his site but can't finf the update.

" February 25, 2005 Addition to “Who Benefits?” Post

Al-Arabiya TV reports that on February 22rd, the day of the bombing at the Golden Mosque in Samarra:

“Al-Arabiya Television has lost its correspondent in Iraq, Atwar Bahjat, with two other colleagues. Atwar gave the last live dispatch to Al-Arabiya Television at 1500gmt yesterday. Atwar disappeared after that. The Iraqi Police today confirmed that she and two other colleagues were assassinated in Samarra... The three journalists were covering the attack on the shrine of the two Shi'i imams, Ali al-Hadi and Al-Hasan al-Askari, north of Baghdad.”

Posted by: annie | Feb 25 2006 22:02 utc | 40

Annie, unfortunately that does not suprize me at all. It is the typical modus operandi of US ambassador (read: viceroy) to Iraq, John (death squad) Negroponte. All to reminiscent of the Giuliana Sgrena hit. And the systemic targeting of journalists.

All the more reason why, Rumsfeld Zeros in on the Internet

If the Pentagon is really so worried about “bad press coverage” why not close down the torture-chambers and withdrawal from Iraq? Instead, Rumsfeld is making the case for a preemptive-assault on free speech.


The Battle for the Control of the Press

A comprehensive new report augmented by the Yurica Report reveals a devastating attack on our free press by the Bush administration.

A host of recent developments have made it clear that the Bush White House is doing battle against the journalistic standards and practices that underpin our democracy. With its unprecedented campaign to undermine and stifle independent journalism, Bush & Co. have demonstrated a brazen contempt for the Constitution and considerable fear of an informed public

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 26 2006 1:23 utc | 41

yes, uncle - i think john death squad negroponte - the reinhard heydrich of his day - left a legacy in iraq that we are watching flower in this last week

the attack on the shrine happens in the precise moments whenmore shia & sunni groups are coalescing - it is clear who is suffering as it is clear - who benefits

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 26 2006 1:30 utc | 42

Speaking of Zarqawi, I think exile's warnerd formulated the need for Zarqawi succinctly:

If he's just another Jihadi, how come both sides, Al Q and the Pentagon, have been blowing Zarqawi so hard for all these years? Because both sides want to make the Iraq insurgency a classic Mr Big story. Al Q wants to give its own lame, James-Bond multinational crew credit for what's actually a homegrown, neighborhood-based Iraqi uprising. The Pentagon wants to put a face-an outside agitator's face-on the car bombers. America will do anything to avoid having to face the most obvious fact about Iraq: they hate our guts, all of them. Pasting Zarqawi's face all over the net also hides the fact that our so-called intelligence units still don't know a damn thing about the insurgency. It makes it seem as if we're hot on the trail of the one demon responsible for the whole mess.

Which suits the insurgents just fine. That's the most depressing angle of all on Zarqawi: it's not just the Pentagon and Al Q who are happy to keep him in the spotlight. The real bosses of the insurgency must get down on their knees every night and thank Allah for the Z-man, because he keeps the heat off them.

They're not Mr. Big. There is no Mr Big. They're more like a few thousand Mr. Middles, a whole crowd of ex-officers and clan leaders in every Sunni town or village who have some kind of loose control over some of the insurgents. Not all-there are hundreds of insurgent groups fighting, and nobody controls them all.

But it stands to reason that some of the bigger, more professional networks have real leaders. These guys will turn out to be solid, intelligent men, usually young-20s, early 30s-who get respect in the neighborhood. They'll be homegrown Iraqis with real standing in the clan and tribal networks that really run things in Iraq.

And they'll be anonymous. Guerrilla war kills off the glory-seekers like Zarqawi pretty quickly. The guys who last will be total unknowns, until the new regime gives them their medals when we finally give up on this mess.

They'll be shy by Arab standards, coolheaded types. Contrary to what the dumb-ass press keeps saying, the leaders don't need to "fuel" the insurrection. It's got all the fuel it needs. The Iraqis, not just the Sunnis either, are so pissed-off by now that the real leaders' job is mostly persuading the hotheads to take it slow, plan their attacks.

And when these guys get a little R&R, their favorite TV will be the nightly news, with pictures of this poor fool Zarqawi's beady-eyed face staring at them. They'll be cheering him on, just like the Pentagon boys and Al Qaeda fundraisers in Jakarta and Riyadh and Berlin.

That's the Zarqawi fan club-the weirdest bedfellows since Jackson and Culkin.

warnerd

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Feb 26 2006 2:21 utc | 43

thanks for the yurica link uncle.

yeah, that's exactly what i thought when i heard about it. remember that journalist that got shot point blank in the forehead 'accidently' by an american snipper right after he broke the story about the shite death squads. they are really trying to contain this one. the trolls are out in full force on some other threads i've visited, pushing the kool aid. they are so transparent. "i was against the war til last week but now i know they really need us there if a civil war is going to break out" and" alQ are blowing things up." total hoqwash. i never link back to here, i'm glad out home isn't crammed w/these gov types every saturday afternoon.

anyway, i just linked to that blog/rumsfeld story you posted yesterday and ask one of them how much their paycheck was.

thanks for the link swedishkind, i like the way this guy thinks, very free spirited

Posted by: annie | Feb 26 2006 3:07 utc | 44

@ anna missed
the weird fact that the guards of the mosque, surely Shiite, were not killed by the bomber

It seems that guardian of the mosque is a traditional role in Iraq, held by designated families, usually over generations. And the family with responsiblity for guarding the al Askari mosque in Samarra is a Sunni family.

I wish I could tell you where I read this just a couple days ago. The story cited another "Shia" mosque in Iraq also guarded by a Sunni family.

I find this detail interesting because it seems to indicate that the division between Shia and Sunni in Iraq in the past has been neither so hostile nor as clearly demarcated as we are given to understand by most contemporary reports.

Posted by: small coke | Feb 27 2006 2:09 utc | 45

The comments to this entry are closed.