23 February 2006

Attack on the Askariyah Shrine: Uncle Sam's Psy-Op Declaration of War against Sadrists

Political events in Iraq, chief among them the rise of the Sadrist Movement, have made Uncle Sam's political situation profoundly precarious. The fiercly nationalistic Sadrists are now the largest single political party in Iraq, owning 32 of the 128 seats in 'parliament'. This gives them incredible power, which they've shown a great interest in using. What are their demands?
  • Sadr says that ridding Iraq of Sam's GI Joes "should be the priority of the future Iraqi government."
  • His party has categorically rejected participating in a government that includes Sam's collaborator and assassin, Iyad Allawi. Allawi midwifed Sam's August '04 massacre of Sadr's followers in Najaf. As a result, in the words of Fatah al-Sheikh, "Allawi's particiaption in government is a red line for the Sadr stream."
  • His movement opposes the Kurdish land-grab of oil-rich Kirkuk. "No one has the right to demand Kirkuk," Sadr told al-Jazeera, adding that the city "is owned by all Iraqis."
  • He rejects the 'constitution' imposed on Iraq country by Uncle Sam and the IMF. "I reject this constitution which calls for sectarianism and there is is nothing good in this constitution at all."
  • After meeting with President Assad of Syria, Sadr vowed that in case of an attack by Uncle Sam, he would "help defend Syria and Iran."
Sadr has also made clear that his Mehdi Army will remain armed. Thus, if Uncle Sam attacks them, the Sadrists have proven twice before that they will fight back. And tied down with the largely Sunni Resistance in Baghdad and Basrah, Fallujah and Ramadi, Latfiyah and Mada'in, Sam cannot afford that now.

In light of the shrine attack, it is noteworthy that Sadr planned on spending the week travelling between Syria and Lebanon in an effort "to help the Lebanese and Syrian governments to mend their ties and consequently to establish security in the region." Sadr also planned to meet with Hizbullah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Shortly after landing, Sadr spoke from the Lebanese-Syrian border:
The visit is aimed at consolidating relations between Lebanese and Iraqis and to solve problems that Israel and the U.S. have created in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq so we can build this region and make it safe.
Given Uncle Sam's effort to destabilize the region, one imagines that Sadr's overture drew scorn, outrage, and perhaps calls for retaliation.

Without this context, we cannot understand Wednesday's brazen assault on the al-Askariyah Shrine in as-Samarra for what it was: a terrorist attack and a psychological attack aimed at both the Mahdi Army and the citizens of Samara who have heroicly resisted Sam's onslaught.

The Financial Times decribed the scene: "Wednesday’s early morning blast at the Askariya shrine in Samarra, 150km north of Baghdad, devastated the tombs of the tenth and eleventh of the 12 Imams believed by Shia to have been infallible successors to the prophet Mohammad."

Baghdad Political Scientiest Hazim al-Naimi compared the attack on the shrine of the Mahdi's father, "to an attack on Mecca for all Muslims," that "could push the country closer to civil war."

Upon hearing the news, Sadr promptly cancelled his trip. Prior to returning to Iraq, he spoke. "We urge Iraqis to be up to the level of responsibility and the size of the catastrophe, asking you to keep Iraq’s unity and safety.” He called for "unity and consolidation," and warned "not to be dragged into schemes aimed at their unity with the emphases on punishing criminals by the most strict penalties."

Sadr explicitly called for calm and unity. Then he blamed the occupation and demanded a vote in the Iraqi parliament over forcing Occupying forces to leave Iraq. At no point did he blame Sunni Muslims.

It is noteworthy, then, that Uncle Sam's totally exposed STRATFOR propaganda organ explicitly lied about Sadr's reaction, claiming on their 'newswire' that, "Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr blamed Sunni Arab militants for the Feb. 22 bombing of the Al-Askariyah Shrine in As Samarra and vowed revenge against them, adding that his Mehdi Army is ready to act."

Adding to the 'irony,' a report in Reuters consciously misrepresented Sadr's position by quoting a man not authorized to speak on his behalf.

According to The Independent, however, Sadr's followers in Kut and Sadr City refused to comply with Sam's artful storytelling:
As news spread of the attack on the Golden Mosque yesterday, thousands of young men marched shouting anti-American slogans through Sadr City, the great Shia slum with a population of two million. About 3,000 people marched through the Shia city of Kut shouting slogans against America and Israel and burning US and Israeli flags.
Thousands of Sadr's Mahdi Army, poured into onto the streets throughout Iraq, focusing their rage upon those collaborating with Uncle Sam. "In Basra," the Guardian reported that, "Sadr militants surrounded and attacked the office of the mainstream Sunni Iraqi Islamic party." By 'mainstream,' the pro-occupation Guardian means that they receive their orders and paychecks from Uncle Sam.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Death Squads trained by Uncle Sam, on the other hand, went on an ethnic purge throughout Southern Iraq, assassinating prisoners and attacking mosques.

Uncle Sam, citing no evidence, predictably blamed the usual suspects. Sambo Rice's State Department Flak for Iraq policy, James Jeffrey, alleged that the attack, "can be traced back to the Zarqawi al Qaeda movement."

Was the elusive Zarqawi, who Sadr calls 'fictitious,' really behind the attack? Or should we assume that Sam simply used Zarqawi's image like "a knife or a pistol in the hands of the occupier," as Sadr has said, and turn our attention elsewhere?

If we reject Sam's Zarqawi conspiracy and examine other explanations, we find other likely culprits: A year ago, the Washington Post reported that the Defense Intelligence Agency, "using 'reprogrammed' funds, without explicit congressional authority or appropriation," has armed the Strategic Support Branch "in secret for two years."

"Designed to operate without detection and under the defense secretary's direct control," the SSBs, led by a corrupt fraudster with questionable credentials, "conduct surreptitious missions" using intelligence gathered "from 'notorious figures' whose links to the U.S. government would be embarrassing if disclosed."

At the moment, we do not know whether the SSB or the British SAS (who shares the SSB's legacy of black-ops, off-the-books terrorism) or anyone else played a role in Wednesday's attack on Askariyah Shrine.

We do know, however, that the position of the occupiers gets more and more precarious every day, largly due to the growing strength of the Sadrist movement in Iraq. And the attack on the shrine - whether stated or not - represents a frontal attack on the Sadrist forces meant to drive a sectarian wedge between Iraqis.

To the question, "who would do such a thing?" Moqtada al-Sadr responds, "We do not want a sectarian government, the U.S. wants one. The U.S. is the source of sectarianism."

"Amid the calls for calm" from Sadr and others, Sam's 'state run' Iraqiya network "included in its evening schedule a graphic music video hailing 9th-century Shi’ite leaders’ battles against Sunni dominance."

You can tell from the propaganda that Sam wants civil war and intends to use sectarian Death Squads to achieve it. They and their allies in the corporate media mention it whenever they can.

Sadr and the Iraqi resistance want the Occupiers to leave. That's a fundamental contradiction.

Uncle Sam stays in Iraq as long as it successfully uses death squads to manufacture a psy-op 'civil war.' The attack on the Askariyah Shrine aided that campaign.

How the Mahdi Army responds will determine the course Iraqi affairs long after Uncle Sam cuts and runs.
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