Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. -- Winston Churchill

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. -- Galileo Galilei

I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell. -- Harry Truman

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Iraqi Mosque Attack – A Bid for Civil War?

The golden dome of a revered Shiite mosque was blown up in Sammara, Iraq. A Sunni cleric was subsequently shot and killed entering a mosque, and Sunni – Shiite militia groups clashed with gunfire. It is the latest escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq, or what appears to be sectarian violence.

It's possible that it is indeed a result of the hatred between Sunnis and Shiites. It is also possible that it is the work of those who want it to appear to be so, wanting to start civil war in Iraq. We need not recap the long conflict and enmity between the the two groups. The important issue is whether that rancor can be exploited to destroy the chances of the new Iraqi government to succeed.

Reuters reported that the trouble making Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr had a spokesman issue a threatening statement: "We will not only condemn and protest but we will act against those militants. If the Iraqi government does not do its job to defend the Iraqi people we are ready to do so." Al-Sadr is the kind of opportunist who will certainly use the violence to further his own agenda.

In the strange world of Muslim factional rivalry, blowing up the holiest mosques can apparently be justified in the cause. More bloodshed will surely follow, no matter if the bombing is the work of Iraqis or foreign insurgents. The incidents are bad for us by destabilizing our efforts in Iraq. It also means that at least some Islamic radicals are busy bombing and shooting themselves up instead of attacking western targets. Every cloud has a silver lining.

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