Friday, August 31, 2007

Maliki Blames Sunni Clerics For Shia On Shia Violence

By Cernig

Because, you know, they astrally projected to possess good Shiite pilgrims and make them shoot their religious brethren.
Iraq's Shiite prime minister said Friday hard-line Sunni clerics outside Iraq share the blame for this week's bloodshed at a Shiite religious festival in Karbala because they issued religious decrees terming Shiites 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 last Tuesday among rival Shiite militias, which claimed up to 51 lives. Iraq's majority Shiites widely believe that Sunni clerics in Saudi Arabia have stoked sectarian tensions by preaching against Shiites.

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 anti-government slogans.

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

He did not mention Saudi Arabia or its government by name but said he was accusing ``organizations, gangs of fanatics and ignorant clerics who have said in the past that Shiites are infidels, meaning they permit killing them.''
If Maliki was deliberately setting out to convince his former supporters in the Bush administration that he has utterly lost the plot, it would be difficult to imagine a pronouncement that would be more effective than this one.

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