Iraq #6: Speaking Of How The Bushies Expected Iraq To Cheer At Saddam's Execution

Also from Juan Cole of Informed Comment, two parts; here (and CNN is calling the outrage growing exponentially by the hour in Iraq):

CBS/AP report that an angry crowd of Sunni Arab demonstrators in the northern city of Samarra, protesting Saddam's execution, broke "broke the locks off the badly damaged Shiite Golden Dome mosque and marched through carrying a mock coffin and photo of the executed former leader."

Folks, this is very bad news. The Askariyah Shrine (it isn't just a mosque) is associated with the Hidden Twelfth Imam, who is expected by Shiites to appear at the end of time to restore the world to justice. (For them, the Imam Mahdi is sort of like the second coming of Christ for Christians). The Muqtada al-Sadr movement is millenarian and believes he will reveal himself at any moment...

For Sunni Arabs to parade a symbolic coffin of Saddam through the ruins of the Askariya shrine won't be exactly good for social peace in Iraq. Can't that site be properly guarded or something?

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that hundreds of demonstrators marched in Dur, near Tikrit on Monday, protesting the execution of Saddam Hussein. Young men carried machine guns and fired them in the air, chanting "Muqtada, you coward," and "Hakim! Yellow-belly! Agent of the Americans!" They unveiled an enormous mosaic of Saddam Hussein inscribed, "The Martry-Hero."
and here:
MENA, the Egyptian news agency, reports a demonstration of hundreds of persons on Tuesday in Habhab near Baquba, protesting Saddam's execution. The demonstrators denounced the Iraqi and American governments.

An Iraqi observer at Saddam's execution, prosecutor Munqidh Faraon, maintains that two senior Iraqi government officials took the footage with their cell phones. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has launched an investigation. But national security adviser Muwaffaq al-Ruba'i admits that the footage, which includes Shiite sectarian chanting and taunting, is extremely damaging to the government.

An Iranian wire service reports that the parties making up the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance (the leading bloc in parliament) met with young Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in hopes of convincing him to ask the 32 parliamentarians who follow him to return to the alliance. The effort is being guided by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who spearheaded the formation of the UIA in fall, 2004. This Iranian interpretation of the meetings suggests that they are intended to forestall an alliance of the Sadrists with Sunni Arab parties, which would have the effect of dividing the Shiites. Mehr also explains Muqtada's prerequisites for rejoining the UIA, which his deputies left when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met with US President George W. Bush in Amman. Muqtada, the report says,
    ' has said that his supporters will return to parliament and cabinet sessions if a timetable is set for the withdrawal of foreign troops. He also totally rejected the proposals to merge the Mahdi Army with Iraq’s armed forces, saying that would only be possible after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.'