Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Al-Qaeda Denies Responsibility for Karbala Bombing

I think this is very interesting: in a communique issued and signed by Abu Maysara Al-'Iraqi yesterday, Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia denied any involvement in last Thursday's attack on Shia pilgrims at the Imam Hussein shrine in Karbala.

AP Photo Wire: Friends and relatives offer prayers for suicide bomb victims from Thursday's blast outside the holy Shiite Imam Hussein shrine, Friday, Jan. 6, 2006, in Karbala

Zarqawi has been advocating mass murder of all Shias, all the time. He has never shied away from such massacres, but why did he feel it was necessary to wash his hands of this attack, which went unclaimed by anyone?

I think part of the answer is to allay Sunni fears of an impending Shia backlash. Maybe some Sunni leaders feel that the campaign of provocation has reached its zenith and would rather not have the situation explode in their face with massive Shia reprisals. It certainly is ripe for it.

In a previous post, I asked myself, if what Iraq is experiencing cannot be technically called a civil war, then what is it? Well, I've come up with this description: Iraq is going through a civil war in slow motion.

Zarqawi's Latest: AMZ's hour-long 'chat' that denounced the Iraqi Islamic Party as 'fence-sitters' has been aptly described by press reports, but what they didn't covered is that it seems that his speech writer is getting better and better. As usual, AMZ gets high marks for delivery, but this time around he quotes TE Lawrence in Seven Pillars of Wisdom and Anthony Cordesman! I must say that the wording, although still at times ornate and starchy, is actually very powerful and the imagery compelling. But of course, it is not free of exaggerations: AMZ attaches the caveat "what we think" is that Coalition forces ('the Crusaders' in his jargon) have sustained casualties in the range of 40,000 and not 13,000. He claims that since April 2003, his organization has sent 800 suicide bombers against Coalition-specific targets, not to mention, in his words, all the IEDs and ambushes that Al-Qaeda had been responsible for.


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