The Widening Gyre of Iraq
We were told they'd be financing their own reconstruction by now. Huh. Things fall apart.
The attack in Samarra began at 7 a.m., when a dozen men dressed in paramilitary uniforms entered the shrine and handcuffed four guards who were sleeping in a back room, a spokesman for the provincial governor's office said. The attackers then placed a bomb in the dome and detonated it.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but some Iraqi officials pointed a finger at Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the terrorist group believed to be responsible for many of the attacks on Shiite civilians and mosques over the past two years.
This sounds more like the work of old-school Ba'athists than Qaeda to me, though maybe they're all part of the same network at this point. It's a cold-blooded move, destroying a holy site, designed to provoke maximum outrage after years of instability, hardship and violence. It's working:
Later, the Basra police took 10 foreign Arabs who had been jailed in connection with terrorist attacks from their cells and shot them to death, apparently in retaliation for the shrine bombing, a police official said.
Sistani issued another statement on Wednesday warning the faithful not to attack any Sunni holy sites. But the angry mobs had already begun shooting, firing rocket-propelled grenades and setting some mosques on fire. Imams at three Baghdad mosques - Al Sabar, Al Yaman, and Al Rashidi - were killed, the Interior Ministry said. A fourth imam, Sheik Abdul Qadir Sabih Nori of the Amjed al-Zahawi Mosque, was kidnapped, officials said.
More than 25 Sunni Mosques have been attacked in Baghdad, some of them totally destroyed. There have been additional acts of reprisal throughout the country. If the political and religious leaders are unable to quiet the storm, US forces are going to be in a very complex and dangerous situation.
As long as this violence doesn spill over to our people, it'll remain a minor story. If violent civil disorder persists and Americans are caught in the crossfire (or worse, pinned into their bases and then attacked by opportunists there), it could be the bloody beginning to a new chapter this saga of misfortune, malfesance and incompetance.
I think it's going to continue getting uglier. Brace yrself.
UPDATE: it's going to get increasingly politically tricky too... when you've lost O'Reilly, you've lost a lynchpin of support.