Monday, June 18, 2007

Attack on the Samarra shrine, no.2

(15 Jun) With all the news coming out of Gaza and Lebanon, Iraq has been pushed a little down the news headlines from the Middle East. The large-scale reprisals, such as happened after the attack last year and which were feared after last Wednesday's bombs at the Samarra shrine, have not materialised (as yet). The New York Times reported one intriguing detail:
Iraqi and American officials said the minarets’ destruction in Samarra also appeared to be the work of Al Qaeda, and that the explosives that destroyed them were placed inside each minaret. The attackers used the same kind of explosives and method as in last year’s bombing, Ambassador Crocker said.

The explosives consisted of two improvised explosive devices planted under each minaret, each with more than 50 pounds of explosives, an official in the governor’s office in Samarra said. “This work is not easy,” the official added. “It can’t be done quickly.” [..]
A few days before the latest explosion, a new police force was sent from the Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry as a prelude to reconstruction. The guards surrounding the shrine ceded to the new police, but those inside refused to leave, according to an American military official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Surely forces from a Shi'a-dominated Ministry wouldn't carry out, or collude in, the destruction of their own shrine. Would they?

By the way, the large number of  refugees from Iraqi was prominent in the news a month or two ago. It was, though, pointed out by a few people, such as Michel Gabaudan of the UN Refugee Agency (C-Span, 22 Apr), that there was an Iraqi refugee problem before 2003. They were starting to return... until the attack on the Shi'a shrine in Samarra on 22 Feb 2006.

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