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Devoted to the viewpoint of Islam of Muhammad SAW and Amir ul-Mumineen, Ali ibn Abi Talib SA, in the Shi'a Fatimi Ismaili Dawoodi Bohra tradition.

August 31, 2003

more links on Najaf.

Karachi Dawn: Iraq mourns as toll rises to 125: Ayatollah Bahar al Uloom quits council; four suspects arrested

NAJAF, Aug 30: US forces and Iraqi police on Saturday detained four people in connection with the car bomb attack that killed Ayatollah Baqer al Hakim and scores of his followers in Najaf the previous day.

Two of the four were Iraqis belonging to the Baath Party and two were Saudis, a spokesman for the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) said. "The four men arrested belong to Al Qaeda. Two of them are Iraqi nationals and two others are Saudis," he said. The CNN in its report claimed that two of those arrested bore Pakistani passports.

As a mark of protest, a senior member of the Iraqi governing council Ayatollah Mohammad Bahar al Uloom quit from the council membership saying the United States had failed to bring law and order to the country.
SCIRI's London representative said the arrests lent credibility to suspicions of an alliance between the Al Qaeda and veterans of Saddam Hussein's government.

"I suspect there was a collaboration here between Al Qaeda and Saddam's people, as well as in the blasts at the UN headquarters and Jordan embassy (in Baghdad)," said Hamed al Bayati.

Referring to the three devastating attacks in a short span of three weeks, Mr Bayati said: "They are using new tactics - car bombings, suicide bombings that have the fingerprints of Al Qaeda. "But Al Qaeda cannot act alone in Iraq. They must have help from inside. That would be Saddam's loyalists."

Juan Cole also has a translation of an Al-Hayat article that sheds more light on Bahar al-Uloom's resignation:

Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum, a moderate Shiite cleric with ties to al-Da`wa and the Khoei foundation, announced that he was suspending his membership in the American-appointed Interim Governing Council because the IGC was unable to provide security. He complained bitterly that al-Hakim, the Najaf authorities, and the US all had been tipped that there would be a bombing aimed at assassinating al-Hakim, but that no extra steps had been taken to keep him safe. He maintained that some 600 people had been wounded in the blast. This qualified resignation clearly a protest against American failure to make Iraq secure in the post-war period. It is also a blow to the Bremer administration of Iraq, since Bahr al-Ulum is popular and a more credible liberal than Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. Abdul Aziz, the brother of the late Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, who slain in the Friday attack, is the head of the paramilitary Badr Corps and has spoken about a vision of Iraq as an Islamic Republic in the far future, though it might have a democratic government in the short term. It seems clear that American nation-building attempts in Iraq have been hit by an earthquake.

and Mr Cole also has an interview with Bob Siegel on NPR about the bombing that is worth listening to (partial transcript).

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About Shi'a Pundit

Shi'a Pundit was launched in 2002 during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The blog focuses on issues pertaining to Shi'a Islam in the west and in the Islamic world. The author is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. Bohras adhere to the Shi'a Fatimi tradition of Islam, headed by the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS).

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