The destruction one of Iraq's most revered Shiite mosques has sparked two days of sectarian violence that has caused more than 100 deaths. Some bloggers predict civil war with the Sunnis, while others foresee simply more sectarian conflict. Bloggers are also weighing in on the South Dakota Senate's approval of a ban on virtually all abortions.
Sects and violence: The bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, on Wednesday sent Shiites into a frenzy of protest and revenge, leaving more than 100 people dead and possibly hurtling the region toward civil war. A leading Sunni Muslim party has abandoned talks on the formation of a new government.
Omar on Iraq the Model blogged from Baghdad on Wednesday: "The situation in Baghdad is so tense now. … I saw pickup vehicles with loudspeakers roaming the streets calling on people to shut their stores in the name of the Hawza and join the protests after the noon prayer to condemn the attack on the holy shrine." His brother and co-blogger, Mohammed, posted an update today: "The situation is still very tense but the good thing is that the Sunni have not returned the attacks and I hope the Shia have satisfied their vengeance by now because I don't want to even think of what can happen if this situation lasts longer than this."
England-bred Sunni Zeyad, posts from the frontlines on Healing Iraq: "It's almost 3 am and I can still hear gunfire in the neighbourhood. Word of the street in our area is that Sunni neighbourhood watch teams are patrolling several Sunni districts in Baghdad. … They say if any Interior ministry forces (read Badr brigade) enter the area, local mosques will shout three Allahu Akbar's through loudspeakers as a sign for residents to defend themselves."
Although no group has yet taken responsibility for the bombings, W. Buczek at Fraternitas Vitae places the onus on the Sunnis to either denounce terrorist acts by jihadists or face civil war. "Sunnis seem to have two clear choices: become active participants in the country and fight against and/or turn over the jihadists, or take their chances against a very angry and much larger majority Shiite population," says Buczek. Nomad on Mod-Blog agreed that Iraqis should fight terror as a united front: "I doubt true civil war is likely to break out, so long as the Iraqi government and American forces get the word out that the attack was by foreign elements seeking to incite violence. It is critical that the average Iraqi understands that this is their own personal 9/11—that their enemy is Al-Qaeda and not each other."
Since much of the rampaging and retaliation is reportedly being led by Shiite militias, conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters thinks the Shiite majority should control its own. "Shi'ite militias remain a direct challenge to the authority of the new Iraqi government and have to eventually disband or get absorbed into the command structure of the Iraqi security corps. As the terrorists intended, this bombing sets that effort back tremendously and makes the job of stabilzing Iraq that much more difficult," writes Captain Ed. Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics thinks the attack is the responsibility of terrorists who are grasping at straws: "The Iraqi government is forming and the terrorists are running out of both time and options, so they turned to an unbelievably risky strategy that will either incite civil war or unite the country against their cause. This bombing smacks of being an act of last resort," says Bevan.
For Westerners who can't grasp the significance of the bombing, Michigan law student Kurt Hunt at Clever WoT suggests they put it in perspective: "Draw some rough Christian parallels: imagine if the Sistine Chapel or Notre Dame Cathedral was blown up," he challenges, noting in post that the mosque was built in 944.
For more blogger buzz on the mosque bombing, click here.
Abortion ban: The South Dakota Senate passed a ban on most abortions, which the House is expected to approve. The governor will likely not veto the legislation. The move is widely seen as a test of Roe v. Wade for the new Supreme Court.
On Voice of Dakota, Michael W. says he's not surprised by the conservative legislature's move but thinks the more interesting aspect is that citizens weren't given an opportunity to vote on the legislation. "One can look at this two ways. Have faith in the process that who you vote to represent you will represent you. Or, because it is such a personal issue, one could say that they SHOULD be able to cast a vote on this one," he ponders.
On Latino Issues, conservative MBA student Josue Sierra sees the legislation as a worthy test for the new Bush-appointed Supreme Court justices: "I expect this will get thrown at the courts, which might be just fine. It's time to put those two new Supreme Court judges to the test." On No, You Can't Have a Pony, lefty Ken Ashford agrees that the legislation is headed to Washington but believes it won't be successful. "If the Roberts Court overturns Roe, it will be an admission that the law changes based on the make-up of the SCOTUS bench. The problem is that the justices—both conservative and liberal—are more concerned about the credibility of the law (and stare decisis), rather than hot issues of the day."
Here's what bloggers are saying about the abortion legislation.