Sunday, February 11, 2007
By Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily
"NAJAF, Iraq, Feb 12 (IPS) - New evidence is emerging on the ground of an Iranian hand in growing violence within Iraq.
As the United States heads for a confrontation with Iran over allegations of Iranian involvement in bombings, the massacre in Najaf last month indicates that Iran could be working also through the Iraqi government, local leaders in Najaf say.
The slaughter of 263 people in Najaf by Iraqi and U.S. forces Jan. 29 provoked outrage and vows of revenge among residents in and around the sacred Shia city in the south. The killings have deepened a split among Shias.......
Many Shias in the southern parts of the country and in Baghdad now say they had been fooled earlier by U.S. promises to help them, but that the Najaf massacre has dramatically changed their views.
Significantly, the Association of Muslim Scholars, a group of Sunni Muslims headed by Dr. Harith al-Dhari, issued a statement condemning the Iraqi-U.S. military attack in Najaf against the Hawatim tribe. The statement, which seeks to bridge a Shia-Sunni divide, denounced the killing of dozens of women and children and added, "It was an act of vengeance and political termination."
"They (the United States) were misled, and their last move in Najaf shows how the smart Iranians are leading the Americans deeper into Iraqi sands," Jaafar al-Jawadi, a political analyst from Baghdad told IPS.
"I really admire the way Iranians are dealing with the situation in a professional way while the Americans are walking with their eyes closed. They are losing the last Iraqi fort they were hiding behind, and that was the peaceful way Arab Shias were dealing with occupation."
Jawadi who is also a former Shia politician says he once believed in U.S. promises of liberation for Iraqis, particularly the Shia population. Like many other Iraqis, he now believes that the United States has been used by the pro-Iranian government in Baghdad to carry out attacks against Shia tribes in southern Iraq who have recently become more and more anti-occupation.
"I do not really understand what those Americans are doing because now they are just like an elephant in a china shop, and everything they do is terribly wrong as if they are committing suicide," Talib Ahmad, a lawyer and human rights activist in Najaf told IPS.
"Iran is benefiting from that for sure. Americans are simply fighting for Iran who appears to be the winner in Iraq after all."
Many Iraqis are amazed at the unlimited support the U.S. administration has been presenting to what many now call an Iranian-Iraqi government. The new U.S. condemnation of Iran could be a first sign that the United States is getting wise to the fact that it is being fooled by Iran.
The U.S. administration is, however, pointing the finger at Iran, and not at the government in Baghdad that it props up. "