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Shi’ite Iraq

23 October 2003

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Chaos is seeping into everyday life in Baghdad.  Yesterday 42 people were killed in five coordinated suicide/homicide bomber attacks, the most hideous being at the Red Cross headquarters.  American and Iraqi officials are blaming supporters of the former regime of Saddam Hussein and foreign elements infitrating across the Syrian border.

Over the past few months the UN, and Jordanian and Turkish embassies have been targets for attack while American soldiers are being picked off in scattered bombings and shootings on an almost daily basis.  America won the war half a year ago and realized the goal of Saddam Hussein’s overthrow only to find itself losing the greater objective of a stable, secure and democratic Iraq.

The Shi’ite majority is said to be waiting on the sidelines, yet in wake of the Imam Ali mosque bombing, the community established an alternative government to the “official” US led secular Iraqi leadership.  The Shi’ites are said to be docile while all the terror activities are those of the Sunni Ba’ath Party Saddam Hussein supporters.  So claim the Americans.

Without intelligence information at hand and despite the Coalition claims to the contrary it may be best to direct some suspicion at the Shi’ites.  The former regime has no real chance of regaining power even should the Allies bail out.  The Shi’ites are the best bet to form a government and can look forward to a close relationship with Tehran.  The Iranians are known for their full support of terrorism and their antipathy to moderate, secular Arab/Moslem regimes and international involvement.  That is not to say Saddam Hussein was a fan of any of the above, but it is questionable whether his supporters would sacrifice themselves for a no-win situation.

Iran is fighting a rear guard action against America and the world, knowing the best way to undermine US interests and the budding international cooperation in rebuilding Iraq is to prove complete chaos reigns in that land.  Their Syrian ally is being targeted by Washington for supporting terror activities including the militant Hizbollah Lebanese Shi’ites operating on Israel’s northern border.  Both Damascus and Tehran know they are gaining the upper hand and have a chance of leading the Arab/Moslem world should they be perceived as having forced the US from Iraq.  Furthermore they figure the Americans are not invading any more countries.

Truth be known, the Shi’ites may be striking at the best moment, knowing full well George Bush is going into an election year and should the pressure increase (it will), an orderly transfer of power may be made to a “moderate” Shi’ite administration, one guaranteeing “equal rights” and “freedom for all.”  From here the Iranians will exercise even more influence.

Or maybe these really are Saddam Hussein supporters.  But the Shi’ites will have their turn and only massive well coordinated western pressures in Iraq and on the Iranian regime will be able to curtail the continued rise of a radical, militant Shi’ite fundamentalism.