"We are facing a major conspiracy that is targeting Iraq's unity." Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
There's no telling who was behind the bombing of the al-Askariya Mosque. There were no security cameras at the site and it's doubtful that the police will be able to perform a thorough forensic investigation.
That's too bad; the bomb-residue would probably provide clear evidence of who engineered the attack. So far, there's little more to go on than the early reports of four men (three who were dressed in black, one in a police uniform) who overtook security guards at the mosque and placed the bombs in broad daylight.
It was a bold assault that strongly suggests the involvement of highly-trained paramilitaries conducting a well-rehearsed plan. Still, that doesn't give us any solid proof of what groups may have been involved.
The destruction of the Samarra shrine, also known as the Golden Mosque, has unleashed a wave of retaliatory attacks against the Sunnis. Overnight, more than 110 people were reported killed by the rampaging Shia. More than 90 Sunni mosques have been either destroyed or badly damaged. In Baghdad alone, 47 men have been found scattered throughout the city after being killed execution-style with a bullet to the back of the head. The chaos ends a week of increased violence following two major suicide bombings directed against Shia civilians that resulted in the deaths of 36 people.
The public outrage at the desecration of one of the country's holiest sights has reached fever-pitch and its doubtful that the flimsy American-backed regime will be able to head-off a civil war.
It is difficult to imagine that the perpetrators of this heinous attack couldn't anticipate its disastrous effects. Certainly, the Sunni-led resistance does not benefit from alienating the very people it is trying to enlist in its fight against the American occupation. Accordingly, most of the prominent Sunni groups have denied involvement in the attack and dismissed it as collaboration between American and Iranian intelligence agencies.
A communique' from "The Foreign Relations Department of the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party" denounced the attack pointing the finger at the Interior Ministry's Badr Brigade and American paramilitaries.
The Ba'ath statement explains:
"America is the main party responsible for the crime of attacking the tomb of Ali al-Hadi"because it is the power that occupies Iraq and has a basic interest in committing it."
"The escalation of differences between America and Iran has found their main political arena in Iraq, because the most important group of agents of Iran is there and are able to use the blood of Iraqis and the future of Iraq to exert pressure on America. Iran has laid out a plan to embroil America in the Iraqi morass to prevent it from obstructing Iran's nuclear plans. Particularly since America is eager to move on to completing arrangements for a withdrawal from Iraq, after signing binding agreements on oil and strategy. America believes that without the participation of "Sunni" parties in the regime those arrangements will fail. For that reason 'cutting Iran's claws' has become one of the important requirements for American plans. This is what Ambassador Zalmay spoke of recently when he declared that no sectarian would take control of the Ministries of the Interior or Defense. Similarly, America has begun to publish information that it formally kept hidden regarding the crimes of the Badr Brigade and the Interior Ministry."
Whether the communique' is authentic is incidental; the point is well taken. The escalating violence may prevent Iraq from forming a power-sharing government which would greatly benefit the Shia majority and their Iranian allies. Many critics agree that what is taking place Iraq represents a larger struggle between the United States and Iran for regional domination.
This theory, however, is at odds with the response of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei following the bombing. Khamenei said, "The occupation forces and Zionism, which seeing their plans dissolve, have planned this atrocity to sew hate between Muslims and fuel divisions between Sunnis and Shiites".Do not fall into the enemy trap by attacking mosques and sacred places of your Sunni brothers".The enemy wants nothing more than weakening of the Islamis front right as Muslims with a single voice have been protesting against the continual provocations of their enemies."
The belief that the attack was the work of American and Israeli covert-operations (Black-ops) is widespread throughout the region as well as among leftist political-analysts in the United States. Journalist Kurt Nimmo sees the bombing as a means of realizing "a plan sketched out in Oded Yinon's "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties" (the balkanization of Arab and Muslim society and culture.) Nimmo suggests that the plan may have been carried out by "American, British or Israeli Intelligence operatives or their double-agent Arab lunatics, or crazies incited by Rumsfeld's Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG) designed to 'stimulate' terrorist reaction."
Nimmo is not alone in his judgment. Other prominent analysts including, Pepe Escobar, Ghali Hassan, AK Gupta, Dahr Jamail, and Christian Parenti all agree that the Bush administration appears to be inciting civil war as part of an exit strategy. Certainly, the Pentagon is running out of options as well as time. Numerous leaked documents have confirmed that significant numbers of troops will have to be rotated out of the theatre by summer. A strategy to foment sectarian hostilities may be the last desperate attempt to divert the nearly 100 attacks per day away from coalition troops and finalize plans to divide Iraq into more manageable statlets.
The division of Iraq has been recommended in a number of documents that were prepared for the Defense Department. The Rand Corporation suggested that "Sunni, Shiite and Arab, non-Arab divides should be exploited to exploit the US policy objectives in the Muslim world." The 2004 study titled "US Strategy in the Muslim World" was to identify key cleavages and fault-lines among sectarian, ethnic, regional, and national lines to assess how these cleavages generate challenges and opportunities for the United States." (Abdus Sattar Ghazali; thanks Liz Burbank)
This verifies that the strategy to split up Iraq has been circulating at the top levels of government from the very beginning of the occupation.
A similar report was produced by David Philip for the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) financed by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation a conservative think-tank with connections to the Bush administration and the American Enterprise Institute. According to Pepe Escobar:
Is the bombing of the Golden Mosque the final phase of a much broader strategy to inflame sectarian hatred and provoke civil war?
Clearly, many Sunnis, Iranians, and political analysts seem to believe so. Even the Bush administration's own documents support the general theory that Iraq should be broken up into three separate pieces. But, is this proof that the impending civil war is the work of foreign provocateurs?
The final confirmation of Washington's sinister plan was issued by Leslie Gelb, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, in a New York Times editorial on 11-25-03. The CFR is the ideological headquarters for America's imperial interventions providing the meager rationale that papers-over the massive bloodletting that inevitably follow. Gelb stated:
"For decades, the United States has worshipped at the altar of a unified Iraqi state. Allowing all three communities within that false state to emerge at least as self-governing regions would be both difficult and dangerous. Washington would have to be very hard-headed and hard-hearted, to engineer this breakup. But such a course is manageable, even necessary, because it would allow us to find Iraq's future in its denied but natural past."
There you have it; the United States is only pursuing this genocidal policy for 'Iraq's own good'. We should remember Gelb's statesman-like pronouncements in the months and years to come as Iraq slips further into the morass of social-disintegration and unfathomable human suffering.