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Ali shrine damaged in massacre

Awful news this morning as up to 100 people died in Najaf, including a prominent shiite cleric. The car bomb went off outside the Ali temple, where Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim had just been speaking. This building was at risk earlier in the year when it was the centre of a siege.

From the Indepedent: "The bomb was set off outside the Shrine of Imam Ali Mosque, the resting place of one of Shia Islam's two most revered saints. The blast was so powerful it damaged shops across the street, blew a deep crater in the ground and smashed several cars to pieces. Decorative work outside the shrine was also damaged."

From the Kansas City Star: "The site of Friday's car bombing that killed Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim is revered by the world's 120 million Shiite Muslims and has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries... Historians say the gold-domed mosque of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib - named after the slain cousin and son-in-law of Islam's prophet Muhammad - was built in 977 in Najaf, a city regarded by Shiite Muslims as the faith's third holiest in the world after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia."



  • edited January 1970
    The disintegration of security and society in Iraq is now reflected in the barricaded compounds of the americans and NGO's.

    "...Most striking of which is 'The Bubble' - the headquarters of Paul Bremer and those charged with reconstructing Iraq. Surrounded by a wall of reinforced and blast-proof concrete, and guarded by tanks and helicopters, this is the Green Zone, an area of palaces and hub of Bremer's vision for the New Iraq.

    It is almost self-sufficient. Those working their 16-hour shifts there can be treated in the compound's own hospital, run safely in its grounds, even take in a film. When they go outside, it is by armoured car with military escort.

    Those who once sneered at Bremer's isolation are now being forced into their own fortresses. At the complex of the Sheraton and Palestine hotels, a wall of concrete and wire is guarded by armed Iraqi security guards overseen by US troops in tanks.

    At the headquarters of the International Committee for the Red Cross last week, which evacuated many of its staff following the UN bombing, workers were building tall walls of sandbags.,12239,1032701,00.html

    NEWSWEEK AUGUST 15, 2003

    " ...The problem, and maybe it's just not clear to those folks in the Bubble, is that when an elite lives in a world utterly out of touch with the people around it, letting them languish without modern necessities that they think are their right (like electricity, airports, phones, and sometimes water) then anger's the inevitable consequence. If that elite is a bunch of hit-and-split high-profile foreigners, then the anger inspires violence, riots, and terror.
    The response from the effervescent Bubbleonians is that there's no comparison between what exists now and the horrors under Saddam. But what does that mean? That the best we can be is merely a little bit better than Saddam? Six months ago, he was the one who lived in the Bubble, and that's why his people hated him. Now, it's us."
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