Thursday, February 23, 2006

Iraq's Fort Sumter?

Has civil war begun in Iraq, after yesterday's bombing of the Shiite "golden mosque"? Over 100 people were killed today.

International Herald Tribune: Shiite fury explodes in Iraq

BAGHDAD: At least 138 Iraqis, most of them Sunni Arabs, including a number of clerics, were killed in central Iraq on Wednesday and Thursday in the maelstrom of sectarian violence that followed the bombing of one of the country's most sacred Shiite shrines, Iraqi officials said.

Seven American soldiers also died in bombings, the U.S. military said Thursday.

Sunni Arab politicians broke off talks with Shiite and Kurdish leaders over the formation of a new government, saying that the Shiites were encouraging reprisals against Sunnis.

Across Iraq, thousands of Shiites took to the streets in a second day of protests against the attack in Samarra, 95 kilometers, or 60 miles, north of Baghdad, which destroyed the dome of Al Askariya, also known as the Golden Mosque because of its color.

The protests Thursday were mostly peaceful, though Shiites raided several Sunni mosques in Baghdad and set fire to at least two.

In the deadliest attack in the past two days, 47 people returning from a protest on Wednesday were pulled off buses south of Baghdad and shot in their heads, an Interior Ministry official said Thursday.

Professor Juan Cole: Shiite protests Roil Iraq

Tuesday was an apocalyptic day in Iraq. I am not normally exactly sanguine about the situation there. But the atmospherics are very, very bad, in a way that most Western observers will miss.

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