February 25, 2006
situation in Iraq is moving too fast and filling more column inches
than a roundup can satisfy. Here is a summary of the blog events since
Thursday. It is at times like this you can see that blogging comes into
its own above other journalism. There is no other medium that can give
you the feel of people’s opinions and emotions in almost real time.
Word from the Street:
Zeyad of increasingly misnamed Healing Iraq is in the thick of the fighting and is updating regularly:
streetfighting at my doorstep for the last 3 hours. Rumor in the
neighbourhood is that men in black are trying to enter the area. Some
armed kids defending the local mosque three blocks away are splattering
bullets at everything that moves, and someone in the street was
shouting for people to prepare for defending themselves. … The news
from other areas in Baghdad are horrible. I don’t think it’s being
Apparently, the attackers were fended off in our neighbourhood. The
fight ended about 2 hours ago, about the same time electric power
returned to our area. Now we are only hearing sporadic gunshots here
and there. To have an idea of what was going on, listen to these small audio files I recorded using a cell phone.
He also posts detailed mosque by mosque updates and maps showing where violent incidents have happened in the past three days.
Christopher Allbritton reports a large armed but peaceful demonstration marching towards the Interior Ministry at 4pm on Friday. He follows this with reports of Sunni’s hitting back against Shi’a neighborhoods and religious sites.
Iraq the Model [sic] gives some reports of Thurdays events and observes:
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.
Mohammed also adds that most people are blaming the Mahdi Army for carrying out many of the attacks.
Truth About Iraqis gets through
on Yahoo to his cousin who says "It looks like a civil war, the
situation is really bad." He also worries for fellow bloggers who live
in Baghdad. He also reports from the Arabic and Western media.
Riverbend reports from her neighbourhood:
streets near our neighborhood were eerily empty and calm but there was
a tension that had us all sitting on edge. We heard about problems in
areas like Baladiyat where there was some rioting and vandalism, etc.
and several mosques in Baghdad were attacked. I think what has everyone
most disturbed is the fact that the reaction was so swift, like it was
just waiting to happen. … I don’t think I remember things being this
tense- everyone is just watching and waiting quietly. There’s so much
talk of civil war and yet, with the people I know- Sunnis and Shia
alike- I can hardly believe it is a possibility. Educated,
sophisticated Iraqis are horrified with the idea of turning against
each other, and even not-so-educated Iraqis seem very aware that this
is a small part of a bigger, more ominous plan…
Several bloggers point out the calculted way in which the shrine was bombed. Baghdad Dweller analyses the method:
one who did this, entered the mosque comfortably carrying explosions,
he had all the time to study the construction of the building and find
the perfect angles to set the explosions in a way that only the dome
will be destroyed. This is a professional, controlled demolition and
the bombs set by demolition experts.
The Woman I Was notes:
had been sieged by the American and Iraqi forces for months; no body
could enter the city without permission; how those who planted the
explosives in the holy shrine managed to stay in it from 5.45pm Tuesday
till 7am of the black Wednesday?
She goes on to list who has the most to gain:
will get benefits of a civil war in Iraq? Kurds are the first; because
Barzani said before months that he will announce his independent state
as soon as a civil war will begin… the Americans, again to protect the
Iraqis!! And the political "leaders" who are becoming wealthiest day
after another from the chose in Iraq… Bush, as usual without feeling
any shame, said on the day when tens of mosques were burning and tens
were being killed that Iraqis are enjoying the freedom of media and
Zeyad comments that the Shi’ite parties have much to gain:
timing of this incident is very ominous. Just as pressure was being
mounted on the UIA to form a more inclusive government, and to disband
its sectarian militias, we have this. I normally don’t resort to
conspiracy theories, and I don’t like the 'Who gets to benefit from
this?’ explanations. People often commit stupid actions for stupid
reasons, and lashing out in violence is also a very human reaction. But
still, the extent and the spontaneity of the violence are deeply
He also relates Eyewitness reports that
contradict the official story: "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." and "Another eyewitness …
claims that 2 Iranians were arrested yesterday, and that the Al-Arabiya
channel crew had filmed them."
Truth About Iraqis blames America:
has to be the most corrupted incompetent government ever assembled by
US foreign policy. It doesn’t function on so many different levels.But
then again, this government was never about governance, but sowing
dissent. This dissent was planted in the early days by the Iraq
Governing Council and now it is bearing fruit.
Iraqi Pundit points to the media:
have been working hard to avoid a real civil war in the midst of
suicide bombings, killings and kidnappings. But the media prefer to
ignore these efforts and instead choose to focus on the agressive acts
of Moktada Al Sadr’s gang.
And The Baghdad Alcohol Sponge has a rare moment of lucidity:
actually checked the word on the street with the Iraqis. They are all
saying the same–that its the Saudis sending people in to fire it up
with the Sunni and Shia. And since Iran is against the Saudis–they’re
using the locals too. Kinda like the US and Soviet Union over Vietnam.
Final Words go to:
24 Steps to Liberty:
was amazed how only the provocative and civil-war-style quotes were
published today in the newspapers. Almost no newspaper showed how
great, it appeared to us, the solidarity among Iraqis was yesterday. It
is true that Sunni mosques were attacked by unknown men yesterday, and
some Sunnis were killed. But that wasn’t the only thing happened as a
reaction. Newspapers should have been neutral, as we were taught, and
show both sides. … All expect civil war in Iraq, which might happen
although I don’t believe it would. Therefore, they want to contribute
to the civil war’s first step. Shame on you all! Shame on the "free and
and An Iraqi Tear:
Iraqis and the nobles of the world should curse Bush, Blair and every
body who are observing the Iraqi bloods without trying to stop it.
I am shouting WAKE UP WORLD again; WAKE UP IRAQIS.
The tears are insisting to make me stop writing… PRAY FOR US.
Why those who are burning the mosques did not curse the American and
the (Iraqi) forces when these bloodies bombed Imam Ali holy shrine? Why
no body is cursing those who attacked the shrine of Malik Bin Anas in
Basra who was one of the earliest followers of our prophet Mohammed
(MPUH)… why no body is trying to find the link between the cartoons
attacking the prophet and exploding the holy shrine?