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[casi] Mid-East papers predict chaos after killing

1) Mid-East papers predict chaos after killing

 2) Fisk: Unless The White House Abandons Its Fantasies, Civil War Will
Consume The Iraqi Nation


Saturday, 30 August, 2003, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK

      Mid-East papers predict chaos after killing

      Saturday's Middle East newspapers are unanimous in condemning the
killing of Iraqi Shia leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim in Najaf on

      Many believe that his death will lead to a new cycle of violence,
plunging Iraq into chaos and bloody sectarian conflict.

      Some blame the US-led occupation of Iraq for opening the doors to

      And one Iranian paper suggests that an Iranian opposition group could
have had a hand in the attack.


      This hideous crime goes beyond the killing of one man. This crime has
killed the whole of Iraq... The way this abominable crime was perpetrated is
no different - in its aims and means - from the Jordanian embassy and UN HQ
bombings in Baghdad. This is nothing but organised terrorism and those who
are behind it should not be allowed to escape unpunished.

      Jordan's Al-Dustur


      The news came as a nightmare. Anything was to be expected in occupied
Iraq in the light of events that one witnesses daily. Yet, when we heard
about the killing of Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim, we can only regard
this as an abominable crime perpetrated by evil groups which has deeply
shaken human hearts.

      Iran's Al-Vefagh


      Yesterday, it was Sergio Vieira de Mello's blood; today, it is
Mohammed Baqr's blood. What about tomorrow?... Blood, blood and more blood.
This is what Iraq has become.

      Lebanon's Al-Nahar


      The evil act perpetrated against Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim and many other
victims is a crime against humanity and a political tragedy... It points to
a future of internal conflict in Iraq, which will hinder its return to peace
and stability.

      Jordan's Al-Arab al-Yawm


      With the killing of the leader of the Islamic revolution, Mohammed
Baqr al-Hakim, Iraq has entered a new cycle of massacres which is going to
lead the country into darkness.

      Lebanon's Al-Safir


      The repugnant crime which caused the death of al-Hakim can be
explained only as an action of an individual who wants Iraq to stay as it
is, in chaos and bloodshed... Shia unity was the starting and end point of
national unity... Iraq will become the battle ground in a sectarian war.

      Qatar's Al-Watan


      The crime perpetrated yesterday in Najaf, which caused the death of
Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim, has a clear message: this is nothing but an attempt
to kindle sectarian chaos in Iraq and lead the country into a vicious circle
of bloodshed and internal feuds.

      UAE's Al-Bayan


      This is the American occupation... It was natural that all immunities
would collapse, including the immunity of the UN HQ in Baghdad, the
diplomatic immunity of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the immunity of the Jordanian
embassy, as well as that of the holy threshold... Iraq's arena is open to

      Lebanon's Al-Safir


      This is a war between the US administration and terrorism and the ones
who are paying the price are Iraqi citizens who know too well that it is
occupation which in itself has opened the doors to terror.

      Oman's Al-Watan


      The US is directly responsible for the events that have transpired in
Iraq and it should not inflict even the slightest harm on the people of that
land in order to establish law and order in that country.

      Iran's Etemaad


      The plot to assassinate Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim... was
undoubtedly planned by the US and implemented by local mercenaries under US
control. As far as local US mercenaries are concerned, one should not forget
the role of the Monafeqin [hypocrites, pejorative reference to the
Mojahedin-e Khalq Organisation]... As they are Shia Iranians, the Monafeqin
can easily infiltrate Iraqi Shia circles.

      Iran's Jomhuri-ye Eslami


      BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and
translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the
Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


Unless The White House Abandons Its Fantasies, Civil War Will Consume The
Iraqi Nation

Robert Fisk
08/30/03: In Iraq, they go for the jugular: two weeks ago, the UN's top man,
yesterday one of the most influential Shia Muslim clerics. As they used to
say in the Lebanese war, if enough people want you dead, you'll die.

So who wanted Ayatollah Mohamed Bakr al-Hakim dead? Or, more to the point,
who would not care if he died? Well, yes, there's the famous "Saddam
remnants" which the al-Hakim family are already blaming for the Najaf
massacre. He was tortured by Saddam's men and, after al-Hakim had gone into
his Iranian exile, Saddam executed one of his relatives each year in a vain
attempt to get him to come back. Then there's the Kuwaitis or the Saudis who
certainly don't want his Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq
to achieve any kind of "Islamic revolution" north of their border.

There are neo-conservatives aplenty in the United States who would never
have trusted al-Hakim, despite his connections to the Iraqi Interim Council
that the Americans run in Baghdad. Then there's the Shias.

Only a couple of months ago, I remember listening to al-Hakim preaching at
Friday prayers, demanding an end to the Anglo-American occupation but
speaking of peace and demanding even that women should join the new Iraqi
army. "Don't think we all support this man," a worshipper said to me.

Al-Hakim also had a bad reputation for shopping his erstwhile Iraqi
colleagues to Iranian intelligence.

Then there's Muqtada Sadr, the young - and much less learned - cleric whose
martyred father has given him a cloak of heroism among younger Shias and who
has long condemned "collaboration" with the American occupiers of Iraq; less
well-known is his own organisation's quiet collaboration with Saddam's
regime before the Anglo-American invasion.

Deeper than this singular dispute run the angry rivers of theological debate
in the seminaries of Najaf, which never accepted the idea of velayat faqi -
theological rule - espoused by Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran. Al-Hakim had
called Khomeini, and his successor Ayatollah Khamanei, the "living Imam".
Al-Hakim also compared himself to the martyred imams Ali and Hussein, whose
family had also been killed during the first years of Muslim history. This
was a trite, even faintly sacrilegious way of garnering support.

The people of Najaf, for the most part, don't believe in "living Imams" of
this kind. But in the end, the bloodbath at Najaf - and the murder of
Mohamed al-Hakim - will be seen for what it is: yet further proof that the
Americans cannot, or will not, control Iraq. General Ricardo Sanchez, the US
commander in Iraq, said only 24 hours earlier that he needed no more troops.
Clearly, he does if he wishes to stop the appalling violence. For what is
happening, in the Sunni heartland around Baghdad and now in the burgeoning
Shia nation to the south, is not just the back-draft of an invasion or even
a growing guerrilla war against occupation. It is the start of a civil war
in Iraq that will consume the entire nation if its new rulers do not abandon
their neo-conservative fantasies and implore the world to share the future
of the country with them.

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