Saturday, September 01, 2007

Newsflash- Sunnis are to blame for Shiites shooting at each other

Boston Globe
September 1, 2007

Iraqi Leader Says Sunni Clerics Fomented Latest Violence

By Robert H. Reid, Associated Press

BAGHDAD - Iraq's Shi'ite prime minister said yesterday that hard-line Sunni clerics outside Iraq share the blame for this week's bloodshed at a Shi'ite religious festival in Karbala because they issued religious decrees terming Shi'ites heretics.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not spell out how comments by Sunni clerics - presumed to be mostly from Saudi Arabia - could have provoked fierce battles Tuesday among rival Shi'ite militias, which claimed up to 51 lives.

Iraq's majority Shi'ites widely believe that Sunni clerics in Saudi Arabia have stoked sectarian tensions by preaching against Shi'ites.

But his remarks appeared to suggest that security guards around the city's Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas mosques may have overreacted, fearing an all-out attack on the shrines by Sunni extremists mingled into a crowd of pilgrims who approached chanting antigovernment slogans.

Maliki's attempt to cast blame on foreign Sunni preachers also appeared aimed at deflecting criticism away from the armed Shi'ite militias that security officials said were responsible for the bloodshed in Karbala, one of the holiest sites in Shi'ite Islam.

The prime minister was asked by reporters to elaborate on his allegation that "foreign elements" played a role in the Karbala violence.

"We don't need any proof or evidence because these establishments . . . issued fatwas [religious edicts] calling for the destruction of the shrines of Imam Hussein and Abbas," Maliki said.

When challenged on his twisted logic, Maliki, in a flash of wit and brilliant oratory, sagely decided to stick out his tongue and then stated "I know you are, but what am I?", stunning the reporters into silence.

OK, I made that last part up.

No comments: