Mosques torched after worst Iraq bombing
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Gunmen bent on revenge burned mosques and homes in a Sunni enclave of Baghdad on Friday as Iraq's leaders pleaded for calm, a day after the worst bomb attack since the U.S. invasion.Even more disturbing however is the possibility of what little government there is in Iraq is about to collapse as Moktada al-Sadr has threatened to boycott the government if Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki attends a meeting with President Bush scheduled for Wednesday in Jordan.
Some 30 people were killed, police said, as suspected Shi'ite militiamen rampaged for hours, untroubled by a curfew enforced in the capital by U.S. and Iraqi forces after bombs killed 202 people in the Shi'ite stronghold of Sadr City.
Four mosques and several houses were burned in a small Sunni part of the mainly Shi'ite Hurriya area in northwest Baghdad, Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Salem al-Zobaie told Reuters.
One witness said 14 people were killed in his mosque during Friday prayers: "It was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades," university teacher Imad al-Din al-Hashemi said. "When the gunmen moved on to attack another mosque, we evacuated the wounded."
The surge in violence comes at a politically fraught time for Prime Minister Maliki, particularly since he is preparing to meet President Bush in Amman. Both men face increasing pressure from their respective publics to come up with a successful strategy for stemming the growing carnage in Iraq, and both are navigating rising tensions between their two governments as they try to agree on a viable path forward.Of course the cultist kool-aid drinking wingnuts blame the American people for the chaos because they elected Democrats.
The announcement of a possible boycott by Mr. Sadr’s bloc further endangers Mr. Maliki’s political fortunes. Mr. Sadr controls Sadr City, and the attacks on Thursday appeared to have strengthened his standing and emboldened him. As long as Sunni Arab extremists massacre Shiites, Mr. Sadr can justify the existence of his militia and ignore entreaties by the Iraqi or American governments to disband it.