Four arrested over Najaf bombing
Four men have been arrested in connection with Friday's car bomb blast in Najaf which killed at least 95 people.
The local governor said two of the suspects were members of the former regime from Basra, while the others were non-Iraqi Arabs subscribing to the puritannical Wahhabi Muslim faith.
The four men are said to have confessed to the bombing and to other plots intended to destabilise the country.
The arrests were announced as crowds gathered at the scene of the blast - outside one of the holiest Shia Muslim shrines - to prepare for the funerals of many of the victims.
Iraq's leading Shia Muslim politician - Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim was among the victims
A gift from our Saudi friends.
Did anyone really think Sadr would have taken a dose of stupid pills and killed a man who, by his position, had to at least be on speaking terms with his father? Not to mention so many others outside his religion's holiest site? He knew Hakim, could have had an audience with him any time he chose. He didn't need a car bomb to kill him.
But with the Hakims out of the way, you have Sistani and Sadr and he has one hell of an argument to oppose the Americans. You have to imagine the debate in SCIRI will go something like this:
"Sadr is young, but he is right, the Americans have to go"
"They will hand over power. Bakr was right."
"Bakr is dead because he waited. Saddam's men killed Bakr in Najaf. They couldn't do it in Tehran, but the bastards got us in our holiest of places. And what do the Americans do? Stand there with their thumbs in their asses. If we don't act, Saddam will be back. The Americans are useless"
"But we lost so many people. The Americans are ruthless. You see what they do. They will send their gunships and kill our people. You see what they do to the Sunnis"
"If they stay here, Saddam will come back and they will steal our oil and women. If we don't oppose them, nothing will change. We have to protect ourselves. They cannot do it and no one will help them."
They realize that the Coalition is not protecting them and cannot deliver the democracy Hakim wanted. Sadr has been proven right by events and another week ends in disaster.
We are past any role for the UN. Even if they wanted, the countries would never get parlimentary approval at this point.
No one, in either party, wants to admit this. Not Dean, not DOS or DOD. We crossed a line when our Saudi friends sent that bomb to kill Hakim. And of course, Al Qaeda and Saddam are now fused like brothers.
We have entered a nightmare from which escape will be painful and bloody.
Bush wants the deaths to stop by March. I think he'll get that wish. Because the odds of us being in Iraq in March are less than 50/50. A lot less.
posted by Steve @ 4:08:00 PM