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Still Hope For Iraq

Despite the church bombings this weekend.

Ayatollah al-Sistani has condemned them:

Iraq's top Shiite Muslim cleric condemned as "hideous crimes" the coordinated bomb attacks on five churches in Baghdad and Mosul that killed at least seven people and marked the insurgency's first major attacks on Iraq's minority Christians.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani said in a statement that Sunday's assaults on churches "targeted Iraq's unity, stability and independence..."

"...We assert the importance of respecting the rights of Christian civilians and other religious minorities and reaffirm their right to live in their home country Iraq in security and peace."

It looks like he understands the problem. Amazingly, even Mooky al-Sadr's guy got into the act:

"This is a cowardly act and targets all Iraqis," Abdul Hadi al-Daraji, spokesman for radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, told Al-Jazeera television.

Unfortunately, I'll bet we won't be hearing this from the imams across the border in Iran, or from the loony bins that are many of the mosques in Saudi Arabia. This is why Iraq is so fundamental in the war on the fundamentalists.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 02, 2004 11:15 AM
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Happy to prove you wrong. This link goes to an Arab News report, out of Jeddah (that is still in Saudi Arabia) from the Organization of the Islamic Conference. It strongly condemns the church bombings. or§ion=0&article=49308&d=3&m=8&y=2004

Posted by John at August 2, 2004 04:33 PM

I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but I'll bet that it will still be praised in many Saudi mosques come Friday.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 2, 2004 04:35 PM

Actually, the response of Sistani and the general response of the people makes me even more confident that Iraq will come out of this intact.

Consider that al-Qaida, Iran, and Syria have been throwing everything they've got at Iraq. Bombs going off daily. Kidnappings, beheadings, sabotage, you name it.

But is anyone even remotely talking about a civil war? Where are the marches by thousands against the government? Where is the looting, the general lawlessness?

By all accounts, the Iraqi people have condemned the terrorists, support the new government, look forward to elections, and want Iraq to stay together as one country. Kurds have been working well with Shi'ites, and the Sunnis seem to be slowly working back into the fold.

Sure, they are spitting mad about the violence. Some of that anger is bound to spill over to the U.S. But assuming the violence is brought under control at some point, I'm beginning to really think that Iraq is going to wind up the way we hoped - a reasonably democratic, reasonably modern, reasonably pro-American state. Say, about like Kuwait or Qatar. Maybe better than that.

I also think it's a positive development that Jordan seems to be working with the new Iraqis, and today King Abdullah slammed the Palestinian Authority and blamed them for the lack of peace and for turning their back on Israel's offer of 98% of the disputed territories.

Posted by Dan at August 3, 2004 05:49 PM

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