For those interested in keeping an accurate body and mosque count as related to the recent sectarian violence in the Baghdad municipal civil war, Omar at Iraq the Model has updated stats that indicate a lower level of rabid behavior than that reported by the mainstream media (MSM):
Curfew extended in Baghdad and three other provinces
The defense minister in a press conference currently on Iraqi TV gave statistics to correct what he described as "exaggerated media reports" about civilian casualties and attacks on mosques since the attack on the Samarra shrine:
Mosques attacked/shot at without damage: 21 not 51
Moderately damaged: 6 not 23
Mosques destroyed totally: 1 not 3
Mosques occupied by militias: 1 not 2 (evacuated later).
Civilians killed: 119 not 183
It was also announced that day—time curfew in Baghdad and three other provinces (Salahiddin, Diyala and Babil) will continue for another two days.
Omar goes on to relate a number of additional updates regarding the situation that may be of interest to those who follow the political gaming activities in Iraq.
An excellent rundown of how the MSM have handled, sorry, mishandled all this is available from Greyhawk of the Mudville Gazette. Especially interesting is the part that examines whom assorted Iraqi groups are blaming regarding the destruction of the Mosque of the Missing Golden Dome. To wit:
A roundup of those accused in the bombing of the shrine of Imams Ali al—Hadi and Al—Hasan al—Askari would produce an interesting line up.
Following the lead of Iran's President, Vice President, and "Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Iranian News agency reports that Friday "prayers" in Tehran were used to condemn the "agents of the Western arrogance, US leaders, Mossad, CIA and the Zionists" responsible for the mosque bombing in Iraq:
Substitute Leader of Tehran's Friday Prayers Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani here condemned the criminal act of bombing the holy shrines of Imam Hadi and Imam Hassan Asgari in Samarra, Iraq and called for unity between all Muslims of the world.
Addressing thousands of worshipers at Tehran University Campus, the Ayatollah said Shia and Sunni Muslims would rebuild the holy shrines but the agents of the Western arrogance, US leaders, Mossad, CIA and the Zionists would be blamed for this heinous crime forever.
The holy shrines of Imam Hadi and Imam Hassan Asgari (PBUT) were the targets of a terrorist act on Wednesday morning and were severely damaged.
Ayatollah Emami Kashani said the Muslim world is aware of the plots hatched by the enemies and calls for more unity and integrity.
The Ayatollah also stressed on Iran's certain right to have access to nuclear technology.
Translations of the "prayers" also indicated the Ayatollah claimed that "Iran's nuclear issue, cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and bombings in Samarra were all part of a Western conspiracy to attack Islam."
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) —— Thousands of protesters have rallied in Iran, voicing anger at the U.S., Israel and an attack on a holy Shiite shrine in Iraq.
After prayers, protesters began marching through Tehran with posters while chanting "down with America."
Speaking at the rally was Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, who says the U.S. and Israel are to blame because they are trying to divide Shiites and Sunni Muslims.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, the Ba'ath party claimed the Badr Corps (an Iranian—backed Shia militia in Iraq), the United States, and Iran were behind the attack. "The Badr Corps bombed the Shia shrine on behalf of Iran and with encouragement from American forces in Iraq."
In an amazing coincidence, in a web forum posting The Mujahidin Shura Council in Iraq (an umbrella group of several Sunni terrorist organizations) also placed blame for the bombing on Iraqi Prime Minister al Jafari, the Badr Corps, and the government of Iran. According to the statement, the bombing was an effort to distract attention from the crimes of these groups (a likely reference to recent militia killings). They further promised a strong retaliation against the Shia.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani yesterday accused the "takfiris" — those Muslims who regard other Muslims as infidels — of carrying out the bombing in order to cause sectarian sedition. (The US does too — but while fellow Muslims call them takfiri, we call them al Qaeda.)
My personal hunch is that, excluding any involvement by 'agents of the Western arrogance, US leaders, Mossad, CIA and the Zionists' as the Iranians claim, the Ba'athists and the Mujahidin Shura Council in Iraq are probably correct in asserting that "the Badr Corps bombed the Shia shrine on behalf of Iran..."
Don't forget to include Muqtada al—Sadr in the group of usual suspects. Al—Sadr, a Shiite puppet of the Iranians and leader of one of Iraq's largest political groups, returned to Iraq just today after being in Lebanon (home of the most—holy, Iranian—sponsored Hezbollah). Al—Sadr was at this fifth stop on a Middle East tour when the mosque bombing crisis started on Wednesday. He cut short the visit and made his way back to Iraq via Iran.
How convenient! He wasn't even in the country at the time of the blasphemous detonation and now returns 'via Iran' to urge calm and unity. Just needed to stop by Tehran for an update and last—minute instructions.
All this sounds strangely familiar. Somewhat like that Reichstag fire back in 1933, perhaps?
Dennis Sevakis 2 26 06