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This bomb attack in Najaf is at least as significant as the attack on the UN HQ earlier this month. Hakim was not the most senior religious cleric in Iraq, but as a political figure he was the most important. His group, SCIRI, is represented on the Governing Council (by his younger brother Abdul Aziz), and Hakim's father, a very senior cleric, was assassinated by Saddam hussein in the early 1980s. In the time that Baqir was in exile in Tehran, the former regime also killed many of Hakim's family. Although the SCIRI were based in Tehran, it also co-operated with other exile groups in the months leading up to the war with the US, but also tried to keep at arms length with the occupation authority at the same time for fear as being seen as merely collaborators. SCIRI's strategy was to participate in the transition to self-rule rather than engage in resistance, as a way of lessening the period of occupation, while at the same time organizing to be in a strong position to be an influence when foreign troops would eventually withdraw. Hakim saw the American occupation as a necessary evil, like many Shi'ites, and just as a means by which to get rid of Saddam Hussein. He was also skeptical of any US agenda in Iraq beyond this, and wanted the Americans to leave a soon as possible now that "the job" has been done. As to who was responsible for this, its again hard to say. Certainly the supporters of the old regime want to intimidate Iraqis who co-operate in any way with the US,and their enmity towards the Hakim family is longstanding. However, an Islamic group announced death threats on Iraqi members of the Governing Council last week, which was broadcast on Al Arabiyya TV, based in the gulf. Groups such as this would likely be Sunni Islamists, either Iraqi, or from elsewhere in the Islamic world, who would not mind killing Shi'ite muslims if the chance arose. Sectarian violence against Shi'ites in Pakistan is not uncommon. As with the UN bombing, the motive of this attack is twofold-sending a message to non-american actors not to have anything to do with the Americans in any way, and creating the atmosphere that the US is presiding over an occupation that is chaotic and where they are not in control of events, whereupon the average Iraqi will point the blame at them for not being able to place the country under any kind of order.It is make the occupation of Iraq a liability for the US and the UK, forcing them to leave. Peter Kiernan ----- Original Message ----- From: "N. Martin" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "N. Martin" <email@example.com> Cc: "CASI Discuss" <> Sent: Friday, August 29, 2003 12:53 PM Subject: Re: [casi] Bomb in Najaf has kills 82, including leading Shia - FT > > Iraqi political leaders have already pointed the finger of blame at > > loyalists to the regime of Saddam Hussein. > > > On April 10, a Najaf mob murdered Abdelmajid al-Khoi, son of the late > > grand ayatollah Abu al-Qassem al-Khoi. Some blamed the killing on Moqtada > > Sadr, a young militant cleric, although Mr Sadr has strenuously denied > > the charge. > > Where do the Iraqis and experts amongst us think, is this violene directed > at the top echelons of the traditional shia religious structure coming > from? Inter-shia (Sadr??), Inter-Islamist (shia-sunni/foreign islamists??) > or shia-nationalist/ba'athist - or from somewhere quite different? There > seem to be few meaningful reports on this around currently. > > And what do those who have some knowledge in these areas think, is the net > effect of what appears to be, if not a planned, than at least a defacto > gradual (???) thinning of the traditional shia structures. who gains, and > what wider repercussions may it have? > > questions for whole books, but if someone has some answers, or suggestions > for further reading, I would be very grateful. > > best > Nicholas > > > _______________________________________________ > Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. > To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss > To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org > All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk