Highlights

 
Quotable
This president failed so miserably in diplomacy that we are now forced to war.
Tom Daschle
Original Blog US Casualties Contact Donate

 
January 13, 2006

Another Raid Brings Further Alienation


by Jim Lobe

With Isam Rashid

BAGHDAD - The Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni organization that was created in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion, was again targeted by the United States military last Sunday. The raid on its mosque served only to alienate Sunnis further.

The Association of Muslim Scholars, now considered the highest Sunni authority in Iraq, has been working to support those who have lost their families, as well as the unemployed. It is also a strong critic of the United States occupation.

Its stand has provoked several raids by the U.S. Army and continuing conflict with the Shia-dominated interim government.

This most recent raid appears to have been related to the kidnapping of American journalist Jill Carroll. No one has yet claimed responsibility for her abduction.

The Association of Muslim Scholars has been accused of links with resistance groups in the past, but there is no known connection between the organization and such groups, or with the abduction of Jill Carroll. The U.S. forces apparently acted on a tip-off from one Iraqi.

The U.S. forces raided the Umm al-Qura Mosque in the early morning, just two days before Eid al-Adha, which concludes the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. The Association offices are based at this mosque.

"At 3:30 a.m., the U.S. troops and the Iraqi army raided the mosque," Akram Ahmed, a guard at the mosque, told IPS. "Some of the U.S. troops came down from helicopters. They arrested seven guards and Sheik Yunis al-Ugaidi." The sheik is a Sunni religious leader.

U.S. troops were evidently looking for Jill Carroll. "They were looking for secret places in the mosque, and they asked about the American journalist," Ahmed said. "But they didn't find anything about that."

It is difficult to understand why the United States would single out the Association of Muslim Scholars as an initial target in the investigation of Jill Carroll's abduction. The organization has condemned the taking of hostages in Iraq. It has opposed the political process under the occupation, but has continued to call for peace.

The Association was instrumental in brokering the first cease-fire in Fallujah.

Through the raid, the offices of the Association at the mosque were ransacked. Witnesses said they found graffiti by way of stylized crosses drawn with thick markers.

"The United States troops drew the cross markings inside the mosque, they destroyed everything in the mosque, and took the computers, and the guns which belonged to the guards," Ahmed said.

Several other guards at the mosque corroborated what Akram Ahmed said, but said they wished to remain anonymous.

The Association said in a statement after the attack that the United States was responsible for desecrating the mosque and stealing files with information on their members.

Spokesperson for the U.S. military Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said the raid was carried out at night in order to "minimize the impact on worshippers and the surrounding neighborhood." He denied that the military desecrated the mosque.

Sunnis have been outraged by the raid. Hundreds gathered at the gardens of the mosque in a demonstration Tuesday. "The attack on the Umm al-Qura mosque is an attack on Muslims and Islam," said one banner.

In such a situation, it is difficult to see how claims that a united government – that would include Sunnis – is close.

In a sermon before the demonstration, political leader Dr. Harith al-Ubaidi said the occupation was responsible for "every crime and the death of every citizen in Iraq. If the occupier would leave, Iraqis would live as brothers."


comments on this article?
 
 
Archives

  • US Jews Open to Palestinian Unity Govt
    3/26/2009

  • Bipartisan Experts Urge 'Partnership' With Russia
    3/17/2009

  • Obama Administration Insists It's Neutral in Salvador Poll
    3/14/2009

  • NGOs Hail Congressional Moves to Ease Embargo
    3/12/2009

  • Call to 'Resist and Deter' Nuclear Iran Gains Key Support
    3/7/2009

  • Washington Ends Diplomatic Embargo of Syria
    3/4/2009

  • Diplomatic, Aid Spending Set to Rise Under Obama Budget
    2/28/2009

  • Many Muslims Reject Terror Tactics, Back Some Goals
    2/26/2009

  • Lugar Report Calls for New Cuba Policy
    2/24/2009

  • U.S.-Israel Storm Clouds Ahead?
    2/20/2009

  • Calls Mount for Obama to Appoint 'Truth Commission'
    2/20/2009

  • Washington's Praise of Venezuelan Vote Suggests D├ętente
    2/19/2009

  • Rightward Shift in Israeli Polls Creates New Headaches
    2/13/2009

  • US Advised to Back Somalia Reconciliation Efforts
    2/12/2009

  • Hawks Urge Boosting Military Spending
    2/5/2009

  • More Troops, More Worries,
    Less Consensus on Afghanistan
    2/4/2009

  • Report: Most Citizens Kept in Dark on Govt Spending
    2/2/2009

  • Obama Raises Hopes of
    Mideast Experts
    1/28/2009

  • Obama Picks Israel-Arab, Afghanistan-Pakistan Negotiators
    1/23/2009

  • Rights Groups Applaud Move to Halt Gitmo Trials
    1/22/2009

  • Obama Offers Internationalist Vision
    1/21/2009

  • Around the World, High Hopes for Obama
    1/20/2009

  • Liberals, Realists Set to Clash in Obama Administration
    1/19/2009

  • Obama Urged to Take Bold Steps Toward Cuba Normalization
    1/15/2009

  • Clinton Stresses 'Cooperative Engagement,' 'Smart Power'
    1/14/2009

  • Bush Foreign Policy Legacy Widely Seen as Disastrous
    1/14/2009

  • Networks' Int'l News Coverage at Record Low in 2008
    1/6/2009

  • Amnesty Calls on Rice to Drop 'Lopsided' Gaza Stance
    1/3/2009

  • Israeli Attack May Complicate Obama's Plans
    12/30/2008

  • Report: Recognizing Hamas Could Help Peace
    12/19/2008

  • Business Groups Support Dismantling Cuba Embargo
    12/8/2008

  • Mumbai Massacre Seen as Major Blow to Regional Strategy
    12/5/2008

  • Obama Urged to Quickly Engage Iran, Syria
    12/3/2008

  • Diplomacy, Multilateralism Stressed by Obama Team
    12/2/2008

  • Obama Foreign Policy: Realists to Reign?
    11/28/2008

  • Hemispheric Group Calls for Major Changes in Americas Policy
    11/25/2008

  • Greybeards Urge Overhaul of Global Governance
    11/21/2008

  • Intelligence Analysts See Multi-Polar, Risky World By 2025
    11/21/2008

  • Obama Urged to Strengthen Ties with UN
    11/20/2008

  • Obama-Tied Think-Tank Calls for Pakistan Shift
    11/18/2008

  • Obama Advised to Forgo More Threats to Iran
    11/17/2008

  • First, Close Gitmo,
    Say Rights Groups
    11/11/2008

  • Obama's Foreign Policy:
    No Sharp Break From Bush
    11/11/2008

  • Coca Cultivation Up Despite Six Years of Plan Colombia
    11/7/2008

  • Obama to Seek Global Re-engagement, But How Much?
    11/6/2008

  • Two, Three, Many Grand Bargains?
    11/3/2008

  • Moving Towards a 'Grand Bargain' in Afghanistan
    10/19/2008

  • Top Ex-Diplomats Slam 'Militarization' of Foreign Policy
    10/16/2008

  • Bush Set to Go With a Whimper, Not a Bang
    10/15/2008

  • Pakistan 'Greatest Single Challenge' to Next President
    10/8/2008

  • Senate Passes Nuke Deal Over Escalation Fears
    10/3/2008

  • Brief Talks With Syria Spur Speculation
    10/1/2008

  • Iran Resolution Shelved in Rare Defeat for AIPAC
    9/27/2008

  • Bipartisan Group Urges Deeper Diplomacy with Muslim World
    9/25/2008

  • White House Still Cautious on Georgia
    9/6/2008

  • US' Somalia Policy Likely to Bring Blowback
    9/4/2008

  • Iran Could Reap Benefits of U.S.-Russian Tensions
    8/28/2008

  • A Really Bad Couple of Weeks for Pax Americana
    8/24/2008

  • Success of Attack on Iran's Nuclear Program Doubtful
    8/9/2008

  • US Gets No Traction in the Middle East
    8/5/2008

  • Gates Strategy Stresses Unconventional Warfare
    8/1/2008

  • Air Force Think Tank Advises Against Iran Attack
    7/31/2008

  • Pakistani PM May Be Pincushion for U.S. Frustration
    7/26/2008

  • Realists Urge Bush to Drop Iran Precondition
    7/23/2008

  • McCain Knee-Capped by Maliki
    7/22/2008

  • Jim Lobe, works as Inter Press Service's correspondent in the Washington, D.C., bureau. He has followed the ups and downs of neo-conservatives since well before their rise in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    Reproduction of material from any original Antiwar.com pages
    without written permission is strictly prohibited.
    Copyright 2003 Antiwar.com