Great sacrilege at Al-Askari shrine

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War, Husayn Ibn Ali, Iraq Views: 8122
8122

Before the attack the al-Askari shrine in Samarra was known for is distinctive golden dome - built about 100 years ago over historic tombs.
Samarra is situated on the bank of the river Tigris about 60 miles from the city of Baghdad. The city has a significant historical importance because of its two shrines.

The first shrine with a golden dome was completed in the year 1905 A.D. Beneath the dome are four graves; Imam Ali al-Naqi (10th Imam) and his son, Imam Hasan al-Askari (11th Imam). The other two are of Hakimah Khatoon, the sister of Imam Ali al-Naqi who has related the circumstances of the birth of Imam al-Mahdi and the fourth grave is of Nargis Khatoon, the mother of Imam al-Mahdi, peace be upon him.

The second shrine marks the place where Imam al-Mahdi went into concealment. It has a dome with a delicate design in blue tiles.

So now we can see who has benefited from the sectarian violence in Iraq: Al Qaeda and its surrogates, Shias, Sunnis or the occupying forces? It would be far fetched to say that the perpetrators of sectarian violence in Iraq are agents of the occupying forces. But the fact is they are helping the occupation.

The blast at the shrine in Samarra is one of the most provocative attacks in the history of Islam. One hopes that the people of Iraq can cope with its consequences. The attack in Najaf two years ago had killed a couple of hundred people including Ayatullah Baqar Al Hakeem and many people were killed last year in Karbala when several blasts took place near the shrine of Imam Hussain.

Of course, nobody is likely to directly claim responsibility for the dastardly act. But it is in the nature of such attacks to unleash a chain of events, which benefit some and harm others. 

Ever since the occupation of Iraq, the number of attacks on its Shia community has increased dramatically. Ranging from direct assassinations to suicide bombing, these attacks have killed thousands of Shias. Simultaneously, attacks on Sunnis of Iraq have also increased. There have been reports of bodies of Sunni Muslims found in various parts of Baghdad who were shot in the head.

Most of the people so killed had nothing to do with the violence except that they were its victims. There is a cycle of violence in Iraq in which people from both sects have been killed and which is of no use to either sect. It has however benefited the occupying forces: Shia leaders had to turn to coalition forces with a request to help restore law and order and Sunni leaders have solicited their intervention to help protect them from a majoritarian rule.

The coalition troops have thus found allies among the people of Iraq who would otherwise ask for their departure at the earliest. The continued violence in Iraq has created a demand for the occupying forces to stay for a longer period.

So now we can see who has benefited from the sectarian violence in Iraq: Al Qaeda and its surrogates, Shias, Sunnis or the occupying forces? It would be far fetched to say that the perpetrators of sectarian violence in Iraq are agents of the occupying forces. But the fact is they are helping the occupation.

One may have heard about the "El Salvador Option" for Iraq, a plan allegedly by Pentagon, talked of targeted killing of 'insurgents' using people from rival groups such as Shias and Kurds to the dirty job. But who knows if such operations actually targeted insurgents. And who knows if the recruits were only from among Shias and Kurds. (An analysis of the 'option' has also been made by Council on Foreign Relations).

The cycle of violence, which started with attacks against the occupying forces, has turned into sectarian violence. This shift of target has definitely benefited the occupying forces that now appear to be the accepted arbiter of power in the formation of new government.

In the last elections in Iraq, the Shias had won a dominant majority of seats in the Iraqi parliament. Sunnis feared that they would be marginalized politically and economically. But this paled into insignificance compared to the occupying forces' fear that Shias could form a truly 'sovereign' regime.

In the growing tension between Iran and the US-led West, Iraqi Shias' closeness to Iran was also a nightmare for the occupying forces. Also, the more Iraq progresses towards stability as a sovereign nation, the more the legitimacy of the occupying forces' continued presence will be questioned.

United States did not invade Iraq to help it become a sovereign nation. It wanted to turn it into a free-market, client state in this oil-rich region. The cycle of violence in Iraq suits US interests until Iraq is reduced to the desired level of a client state.

US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, recently said that any sectarian government in Iraq would be unacceptable and that the US would stop funding if such a government is installed in Baghdad. Similar comments were made by the British secretary of state during his surprise visit to Baghdad a few days before the Samarra blast. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, too, is currently on a Middle East tour and one of the points on her agenda is Iraq's future government.

The blast at Samarra is yet another outrageously sacrilegious act perpetrated by those who want to harm the people of Iraq and change the course of its politics. The best response to the evil act is a demonstration of patience and restraint.

Saqlain Imam is a political commentator based in UK.


  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Husayn Ibn Ali, Iraq
Views: 8122

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Older Comments:
YAHYA BERGUM FROM USA said:
Four AC-130 gunships are being moved to a base in southern Iraq:
english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6AA8AFC7-DE95-413F-9E0A-35E5480BD0FB.htm

One of Iraq's C-130 cargo planes undergoes maintenance at Iraqi Air Force base:
www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2006/20060303_4375.html

Do you think it could be the same facility? Given the maintenance aspect, let alone the need for Operation Iraqi Freedom to succeed, it seems logical. For the sake of solidarity and political considerations perhaps Iraqi markings might soon appear on the gunships. But in any case hopefully civil war will be avoided.

Salaam/Peace!
2006-03-04

BOHARI BIN MASHLI FROM MALAYSIA said:
The act has achieved it objective(s) and we never learn.
2006-02-28

AHMED FROM UK said:
Just a few words, who benefits?
2006-02-27

JOHN FROM USA said:
You so generally Americans have accepted that 9/11 was done by Muslims. Heck many Muslims beleive that is true, but fact is that it was American who commited 9/11 them selves, if they can do this to their own people, what is so wrong with blowing up few rag heads? Civil war is part of neo-conservative agenda.

What the movies at www.informationclearinghouse.info
2006-02-27

TYHERTHA FROM USA said:
All I want to say is this "UNITED WE STAND"
2006-02-26

EMRE FROM TURKEY said:
Hi, I am wondering in which country or nation or place would Imam Mahdi return ? Is there any hadith or anything in islam that indicates the place where al-Mahdi would return ?
2006-02-25

KHAN FROM USA said:
Dear brothers in Islam:
The westerners always and will benefit in the muslim world.Why and How-->

They DO NOT not let muslim countries:

to prosper, to become self dependent,to become self-defensive(from internal or external threats),to become stable & unite,to have food industries, textiles or anything to build.

They destabilise and destroy institutions (islamic in particular)infrastructure and rebuild, get contracts, setup their chains of foodstores,departmental stores,TV. and so on...

They have to keep up their economy in good shape with all kind of dirty games and politics.They make other countries to depend on them (even for food) totally or as much as possible.

Just imagine the westerners have secret places of detentions in muslim countries to torture the muslims, they are dictating their terms. We need to understand the big game plan and unite as a single entity before it is too late.
2006-02-25

RAUF FROM CDA said:
Re comments by Jeremy.
Indeed the true nature of the West is so!
Iraqis and all Muslims at large-find out who dun it? We know it is not any of you.
The 'divide and rule' (destroy and leave) mode of operation is being re enacted?
2006-02-25

SAMEENA FROM US/INDIA said:
There is no excuse for attacking our Shia brothers and sisters in Islam. The issue in Iraq is about political and economic rivalry between some groups, in the past Sunnis were dominant, now Shias are going to be. Sunnis have a right to demand equal treatment but there is absolutely no excuse for doing violence to the Shia community. We Sunnis need to treat them better. We also need to give credit where credit is due: Shia brethren have shown tremendous patience in the face of considerable provocation. These mosques are part of our common Islamic heritage and should be respected. The truth is the only real power Muslim men have is to bully the weak in their society: the women and minorities. they dont have real economic, political or military power and with this kind of bully mentality, they are wasting so much time on sectarian and misogynist nonsense that it is not a surprise that the Ummah is in the state it is in. We need to spend our efforts to build strong honest democratic governments with reasonable people who know how to run a nation (not lunatics who governed Afghanistan like a stone-age kingdom - not to mention Mercedes Mullahs in Saudi and Iran). My best wishes for our Shia brothers and prayers for a united, strong and prosperous Ummah. I hope Muslim governments around the world will take strong action against such violence - this is a law and order problem and perpetrators should be punished to the full extent of the law.
2006-02-25

BRUCE FROM US said:
I am saddened to see such a beautiful and historic building to which so many have close ties be destroyed. I am also saddened to see people say that the US benefits from such an act or even worse perpetrated it. It is in the US interest to have stability and peace in Iraq with a government in charge that has been elected by the people and has their people's best interest in mind. One can take issue as to whether the US should have invaded Iraq, but that is moot since it has already been done. Now that we are there, the sooner we can achieve some stability and go home, the happier we will be. We do not want to see our sons and daughters die any more than you do and we certainly have other things we could be spending our billions on. It is about time that Muslims face the fact that there are people who call themselves followers of Islam that don't follow their own tenets. It doesn't seem difficult for them to spot hypocrites within the "Christian" community.

There is a difference between interfering with the democratic process and withdrawing funding from a regime that is openly hostile toward us. If the Iraqi people choose to be an Iran-friendly state, that is their business. If that government is openly hostile toward the US, shouldn't we have the right to withdraw funds? I certainly don't want to help fund a bomb aimed at the US.

The fact that the religious factions turn to the US for help is only beneficial for us if it helps restore order. Our goal is to help restore order so we can get the hell out. It should not be difficult to figure out who benefits from the chaos.

2006-02-24

MIKE GORUND FROM USA said:
After the furor over the cartoons, it's amazing how little repsonse there is in the Muslim world outside Iraq to the destruction of the Gold Dome Mosque. A much greater sacrilige was committed when a thousand year old mosque was destroyed than when cartoons were printed. Where are the protestors against the terrorists?
2006-02-24

ABU JAHIZ FROM USA said:
As salamu alaikum
We must say NO to sectarianism, No to Sunni and Shia and YES to Muslim and Islam. Do you people think on the day of judgement ALLAH will ask us whether or not we are Sunni or Shia, Prophet Muhammad SAW is the best example it is his example we should follow. So let me start by saying Islam is a universal brotherhood and sisterhood, I worship only ALLAH, whatever he enjoins on me I do, whatever he forbids I stay away from, and throught his mercy made me a MUSLIM
2006-02-24

TYPICAL FROM USA said:
Somewhat wrong analysis of this situation. For US it is only oil and military bases as well as monkey rulers that take orders from we know where. In addidtion a stable envirnment to pump oil and open walmart and Citibank in Iraq. So this incident is not going to help them. However, it will help someone that is very close to Iraq and that Iran. How, a civil war will assure the division of Iraq and Shitis majority will enjoy Iran's close ties always. Divert attention from Iran nuclear issue and showing that Iraq can become a bigger political problem for US. This situation also helps insurgents as they have achived a choas that will assure more law and order problems and less attentions to their operations.
One thing to remember about politicians they have no religion and no respect and morals. They only see one thing and that is power and people to use power over.
This division of Iraq is bound to happen sooner or later only question is how US can make the best deal for his benefits with which group.
2006-02-24

KHAN FROM USA said:
Dear brothers in Islam:

Whoever did this is to disunite muslims, split Iraq & some muslim countries(like INDIA's partition in 1947) and let the muslims fight among themselves,keep them busy & the nonbelievers can carry on their plans. Who benefit from this?.

Such thing did not happen IN IRAQ even when the leader was Saddam and even when he had war with Iran. How is this possible now?. Of course Shias & Sunnis have differences ,but such incidents we never think of against each other,because we are muslims FIRST.

This act was in no doubt committed by non-believer/Hippocrate. This is a test for the muslims to be patient, unite and work together to find out the real people involved and the reasons behind .
2006-02-24

BASHAR SALEH FROM KOLKATA, INDIA said:
Pure and simple conspiracy of the West. And Lack of true leadership in Muslim World.
2006-02-24

SALEEM FROM USA said:
IN IRAQ, ITS VERY HARD TO BELIEVE WHEN MISSLIES ALONG WITH COLD BLOODED MURDERS AND RAPES IN ILLEGAL US JAILS GOIN ON, AT A MASS PROPOTION.

SUNNIS WILL BE WORRIED ABOUT SHIA TAKING THEIR RIGHTS. THIS IS RIDICULOUS, AS SUNNI AND SHIA HAVE BEEN LIVING IN THIS REGION FOR CENTURIES WITHOUT SUCH WORRIES.

STATEMENTS LIKE THESE IN THE ARTICLES ARE MEANINGLESS.

"Sunnis feared that they would be marginalized politically and economically."
2006-02-24

YAHYA BERGUM FROM USA said:
Peace indicates a government's right to govern. And violence serves those who don't want the governed living in peace unless it is they, the violent, who are governing.

And doubtless the occupiers would at some point be compelled, by circumstances beyond their control, to let the occupied fight their own battles. And why should the occupied expect differently?

Perhaps the occupied should strive towards relieving the occupiers of whatever they, the occupied, think they might require in order to prevail. Against whomever. (Allah hafiz.)
2006-02-24

REZA FROM IRAN said:
muslims unite do not let evil zionists and american government from breaking you up... unite.
2006-02-24

NATIVE FROM USA said:
far fetched? Come on - throughout American history, it has comitted these kinds of attacks on the Native peoples of this continent, and has attempted to destroy indigenous civilizations throughout South and Central America - when they rose up against the American empire. And they did this by destroying what was valued most: the cultural/religious heritage. This is nothing new, the American empire is upto its old tricks once again.

Instead of American Imams such as Zaid Shakir .. "separting from the East" - they need to get their act together and seriously confront the evil in their own backyard. They are living in the belly - and don't know what is going on! Pathetic!
2006-02-24

JEREMY FROM UAE said:
US says this is hallmark of Qaeda, I say it is hallmark of USA/Israel black operations. USA knows Iraq is becoming another Iran, so punish Iran using Iraq, create a qaugmire for Iran and leave.
2006-02-24