al Qaeda steps up its campaign to destroy the political process and incite a civil war by attacking Shiite mosques; the wider situation in Iraq is virtually being ignored
al Qaeda in Iraq is pressing on its campaign to destroy the political process to form a unity government and incite a civil war. One day after a strike at a Shiite mosque in Najaf, which killed twelve, three suicide bombers entered a SCIRI mosque in northern Baghdad, and killed over 50 worshippers and wounded over 130.
Reuters reports “The bombers were dressed in traditional Shi’ite women’s black robes when they struck, two inside the mosque and one outside as worshipers headed home, a police official said… Some police sources said the bombers were women; others said they were a woman and two men dressed as women.”
Iraq the Model notes the attack was directed at the SCIRI mosque where Jalal Addin al-Sagheer preaches, and that al-Sagheer is “the first SCIRI member to publicly urge Ibrahim al-Jafari to withdraw his nomination for office” as well as “one of the headquarters of the SCIRI and its clerical wing in Baghdad, even that [SCIRI Leader] Abdul Aziz al-Hakeem’s son Ammar al-Hakkem preaches occasionally in this mosque when sheikh Jalal is not available.” al-Sagheer is also a close confidant of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.
The attack in Baghdad followed a warning from the Interior ministry that “it received intelligence that insurgents were preparing to set off seven car bombs in Baghdad.” The ministry “cautioned people in Baghdad to avoid crowds near mosques and markets due to a car bomb threat.” The only good news that can be taken out of this is the Iraqi Security Forces’ intelligence seems to be improving, as this attack was anticipated, but not enough to the point where this specific attack could have been deterred.
While the bad news from Baghdad continues, U.S. Army Capt. Dan Sukman provides an excellent commentary about “The War at Six Inches” from the perspective of a soldier:
How can so many people have a different view of this war? Some say it is successful, some say we are failing, some say everything in between. The war to the infantryman on the line in south Baghdad is completely different than the war to an infantryman in Mosul, which is much different than the war to a soldier standing guard at division headquarters. And none of them see what a brigade staff officer in Tikrit sees, nor does that brigade staff officer see the same war as a company commander in Tal Afar.
Bill Putnam provides a view of his war at six inches in Bayji; “A lot has changed in the three months since I left Bayji. A new Iraqi army battalion from Kirkuk is in town. A new IP Emergency Response Unit arrived from Tikrit. Last but not least, the Rakkassans [of the 101st Air Assault Division] stopped going into Bayji until this week.”
The media magnifying glass remains on Baghdad, and the wider story of Iraq remains practically untold. The media’s war at six inches is largely reported from the confines of the International Zone and the Palestine Hotel as al Qaeda and the insurgency puts on a show for their benefit.