News and opinions on situation in Iraq
The Smoking Gun by Mike Whitney

The AFP is reporting that the bombing of the Golden Domed Mosque “was the work of specialists” and that the “placing of explosives must have taken at least 12 hours.”

Construction Minister Jassem Mohammed Jaafar said, “Holes were dug into the mausoleum’s four main pillars and packed with explosives. Then charges were connected together and linked to another charge placed just under the dome. The wires were then linked to a detonator which was triggered at a distance.”

Clearly, the bombing was not carried out by rogue elements in the disparate Iraqi resistance. This is the work of highly-trained saboteurs and bomb-experts who were executing a precision-demolition to incite sectarian violence. The blast bears all the hallmarks of a covert Intelligence agency-operation.

 Who benefits from such a vicious attack on the foundations of Islamic identity and culture?

The AFP’s report is consistent with earlier analysis provided by a Baghdad blogger who convincingly demonstrates that the destruction of the mosque was a “controlled demolition” which required considerable time and professional expertise.

The photographs of the nearby, but untouched, minarets provide a shocking example of the bomber’s skill.

Eyewitness accounts have appeared on various web sites attesting to the fact that there were “unusual activities” taking place at the mosque the night before the bombing. One witness reported that he heard their “cars the whole night until the next morning”. Another witness who lives near to the mosque says that at 8:30 that evening he was told “to stay in your shop and don’t leave the area” while Iraqi National Guard and American troops “patrolled the area until the next morning”. At 6:30 AM the American troops left.

At 6:40 the first explosion went off.

In a matter of hours the western media swung into high-gear with over 1,000 stories containing the word “civil war” in the first 24 hours. As always, the western media simply reiterates the narrative that best serves the interests of management and their political benefactors. In this case, it’s clear that civil war is being invoked to divert attention from occupation forces and pit Iraqis against Iraqis; the ultimate objective of the bombing.

But is this really the plan. After all, how does that make Iraq more governable?

It is imperative that we challenge the stated purpose of why the United States is occupying Iraq.  The fabrications of “liberation” and “democracy” are simply used to obscure the facts.

“We don’t do body counts” (General Tommy Franks) any more than we do reconstruction or security. The last three years have provided ample evidence of this in Iraq, just as have the 4 years in Afghanistan. The Bush administration has no intention of rebuilding Iraq or of providing even minimal requirements for security. Rather, they will continue to operate the same way they have from the beginning; by wielding overwhelming force whenever possible and concealing their methods behind a impenetrable wall of propaganda.

The present strategy undoubtedly reflects the desperation with the existing state of affairs. America is hopelessly mired in an “unwinnable” war. The choices for action have now been narrowed to either withdrawal or massive and destabilizing clandestine-operations intended to provoke internecine violence.

What other option is there?

The media simply parrots the cynical aspirations of the political establishment repeating the “civil war” mantra at every opportunity.

 Henry Kissinger summarized the current Iraq strategy best when he offered his remedy for the ongoing conflict between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s. Kissinger said blandly, “I hope they kill each other.”

The former National Security Chief’s axiom has now been elevated to the level of state policy. This is the Kissinger Principle; the conviction that racism and anarchy can be manipulated to achieve imperial objectives.

The destruction of the sacred shrine shows that the Iraq war has entered a new phase. The very symbols of Muslim identity are under withering assault in hope of inciting greater hostility and division. The foundations of Iraqi culture and character are being systematically targeted by professional paramilitaries executing a scorched-earth policy.

This is terrorism writ large and presumably with Washington’s blessing. Neocon Michael Ledeen breezily calls it, “creative destruction” but, in fact, it is the willful and cynical decimation of an ancient society that never posed a credible threat to American security.

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