February 26, 2006
Juan Cole (see below two postings of February 24 and 25, 2006 for background) further states:
a historian, I try not to comment on things for which I don't have good
documentary evidence. It just becomes speculation. I'm at a
disadvantage in saying anything at all about what goes on in Iraq,
since I am not there and can't see it. I finesse this by trying to make
a judicious choice with regard to published accounts in Arabic. I
didn't see anything I trusted on this issue."
level, Cole's academically 'safe' response is totally in order. On
another level, some extra effort to discern and connect the dots behind
the glare of the Corporate Media's superficial coverage, especially for
a mini-historian, as I may humbly claim to be, would be in order, even
though I also "am not there". In the end, the approach does reflect the
interests (as in: Regard for one's own benefit or advantage;
self-interest), doesn't it?
sectarian violence that has shaken Iraq this week has demonstrated the
power that the many militias here have to draw the country into a
full-scale civil war, and how difficult it would be for the state to
stop it, Iraqi and American officials say.
The militias pose a
double threat to the future of Iraq: they exist both as marauding
gangs, as the violence on Wednesday showed, and as sanctioned members
of the Iraqi Army and the police. (emphasis added)
ascent of the militias inside the security forces was quick and quiet.
Soon after the Shiite-led government swept into power last spring and
Bayan Jabr, a senior Shiite politician, become interior minister, a
housecleaning began, in which about 140 high-ranking officials were
dismissed and political allies of the Shiites were put in their place,
according to several former ministry officials who feared reprisals if
they gave their names. In addition, recruitment drives brought hundreds
of ordinary Shiites into the security forces, many of whom identified
more strongly with their political parties than with the Iraqi state.
summer, an American government adviser to the ministry, Mathew Sherman,
recalled writing in his notes that "the ministry is quickly being
infiltrated by militia and by Badr people."
Religious Strife Shows Strength Of Iraq Militias February 25, 2006
bombing of a revered Shiite shrine which sparked a wave of violence in
Iraq was the work of specialists, Construction Minister Jassem Mohammed
Jaafar said Friday, adding that the placing of the explosives must have taken at least 12 hours. (emphasis added)
to initial reports, the bombing was technically well conceived and
could only have been carried out by specialists," the minister told
Iraqia state television.
Jaafar, who toured the devastated
thousand-year-old shrine on Thursday a day after the bombing which
brought down its golden dome, said "holes were dug into the mausoleum's
four main pillars and packed with explosives."
"Then the charges
were connected together and linked to another charge placed just under
the dome. The wires were then linked to a detonator which was triggered
at a distance," the minister added.
To drill into the pillars would have taken at least four hours per pillar, he also estimated."
Iraq shrine bombing was specialist job: minister February 24, 2006
Note: The third eye-witness (see previous posting), who emailed his version of what he saw before the above report, had said exactly that. Since it is in Arabic, I shall translate.
"My name is Ahmad Al-Samarrai and I own an Internet Cafe in front of
the shrine. The National Guard arrived at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday and
surrounded the shrine and prevented us from leaving, but we usually
sleep at night in our shops fearing theft of the computers. The
National Guards and the Americans surrounded the shrine and left by 9
p.m.. They returned about 11 p.m. and strolled around till 6 a.m. on
Thursday when all left at 6:30 a.m.. Two explosions occurred, one at
6:40 a.m and the louder one at 6:45 a.m.".
Not to mention that Samarra was/is under curfew from 8:00 p.m. till 6:00 a.m. every night; and that
"... Sand "walls" built around Fallujah and Samarra in recent months
have quelled restive insurgent cells. Army commanders in Samarra said
the number of attacks dropped drastically after an 11-mile barrier was
built around the city." U.S. Troops Build Wall of Sand in Iraq January 7, 2006
attacks in Iraq reached a postwar high in the four months preceding
Jan. 20, according to a Iraq progress report issued Friday by the
Pentagon.More than 550 attacks took place in Iraq from Aug. 29, 2005,
to Jan. 20, 2006, according to the latest "security and stability"
report the Defense Department is required to send lawmakers every four
months.Speaking to Pentagon reporters Friday, Assistant Secretary of
Defense for International Security Affairs said that the survey’s
conclusions "were not good," but that "loving us is not what it’s
Awareness of the relative unpopularity of U.S. troops
"is one of the reasons we want to turn over the battlespace" to the
Iraqi security forces, Rodman said. (emphasis added)
Pentagon report: Insurgent attacks hit postwar high February 25, 2006
an attempt to end violence sparked by a bombing this week of a revered
Shi'ite mosque in Samarra, the Iraqi government imposed an all-day
curfew. The ISF are enforcing the curfew through patrols, roadblocks
and loudspeaker announcements throughout Baghdad's mixed Sunni and
Shi'ite neighborhoods amid one of the worst campaigns of Iraqi-on-Iraqi
violence since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
"We have a
partnership with two Iraqi army brigades ... and what we have done is
we've prepositioned our forces out in that area of responsibility,"
said Army Col. Jeffrey Snow, whose 10th Mountain Division brigade is
responsible for northwest Baghdad. "I want to make clear to everyone
that there is no question that Iraqi security forces are clearly in the
American brigades have embedded advisers among more than
50 Iraqi brigades. Equipped with radios, the advisers can call in U.S.
reinforcements if the Iraqis become overwhelmed by demonstrators or
attackers. The U.S. Army is launching spy drones to monitor Iraqi
"The Iraqi security forces stepped up and immediately took
steps to enhance a security posture within our area," Col. Snow told
reporters at the Pentagon via a teleconference. "Our forces are
postured as a quick-reaction force."
U.S. Forces Ready, Watchful As Iraqis Handle New Unrest February 25, 2006
Who benefits from the Samarra attack?