Saturday, August 11, 2007
by Hamid Ahmed for the Associated Press:
BAGHDAD - A powerful roadside bomb on Saturday killed the governor and police chief of a southern province that has seen fierce internal fighting between Shiite factions, officials said.
The bomb struck a convoy carrying the Khalil Jalil Hamza, the governor of the Qadisiyah province, and the provincial police chief home from a funeral service for a tribal sheik at about 5 p.m., army Brig. Gen. Othman al-Farood said.
Hamza and the police chief, Maj. Gen. Khalid Hassan, were killed, along with their driver and a body guard who were in the same SUV, according to al-Farood, the commander of the Iraqi army division in charge of the area.
The attack occurred in the town of Aajaf, as the convoy was headed back to the provincial capital of Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad.
Diwaniyah has been the site of heavy clashes between U.S.-Iraqi security forces and Shiite militia fighters. The area also has seen a rise in internal rivalries between rival militia forces, including the Mahdi Army that is loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
In Baghdad, militants bombed the house of a prominent anti-al-Qaida Sunni cleric, seriously wounding him and killing three of his relatives in what appeared to be an increased campaign against Sunnis who have turned against the terror network.
That attack, which was followed by a fierce firefight, came after Sheik Wathiq al-Obeidi called on residents in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Azamiyah to rise up against foreign fighters, a reference to al-Qaida in Iraq, which recently has seen a surge in opposition from fellow Sunnis.
A Sunni insurgent umbrella group threatened the cleric on Tuesday, calling him a traitor and accusing him of working with the Anbar Salvation Council, an alliance of Sunni tribal leaders who are fighting al-Qaida in Iraq in the province of the same name west of Baghdad.
"The so-called Wathiq and his followers ... are a legitimate target for mujahedeen (holy warriors)," the statement said.
The concept of takfir, or excommunication, coupled with the mandate to kill unbelievers (Qur'an 9:5) leads to two internal consequences for Muslim communities: One is eternal instability, as tempers are conditioned to be short and explosive over disagreements. Additionally, the lack of separation of religion and state in Islamic teachings only adds fuel to the fire where political disagreements arise, demonstrated by both Shi'ites and Sunnis in this article.
In that atmosphere, the hazards of being branded a substandard believer, coupled with the military and material incentive for demonstrating religious devotion only further encourages as literal a following of texts and teachings as possible (see also: Gaza Strip). And thus, there arises a self-perpetuating cycle in that the solution to Islamically-charged instability is always more Islam (since the root of the problem is that the other party has it wrong), more sharia, and more jihad to make it happen.
Many thanks to Jihad Watch for the work they do in alerting readers Islamic Fundelmentalists. (Also for this article.)