Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Golden Mosque in Iraq blown up again

Before and after shots - the Mosque as it originally was, and now, missing its dome and minarets. The dome went in the first attack, back in 2006

The al-Askari shrine in Samarra, also known as the Golden Mosque had its minarets (prayer towers) blown up today. it's one of the most important mosques in Shia Islam, and reputedly the place where the 12th Imam is supposed to emerge.

Like the last time the Golden Mosque was hit, this attack is obviously designed to exacerbate Shi'ite and Sunni violence in Iraq.

A Sunni mosque in the eastern part of Samarra has already been destroyed in revenge, and Shiite militiamen have surged into the area.

This comes at a sensitive time for the Maliki government, with Maliki already under pressure by the US to meet political guidelines or face a US withdrawal after General Petraeus reports to congress in September.

He's being pressured by his Shiite political allies and the militias on the one hand to crack down on the Sunnis,and on the other hand for political reconciliation by the US.

A state of emergency and an open ended curfew has been declared in Baghdad and also in Najaf, site of another important Shia shrine, where our old friend Moqtada Sadr has declared a three-day period of mourning. "What did the government do to protect the tombs?" he asked in a statement. he also called for `anti-occupation' demonstrations against the US.

Stay tuned...

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