Monday, January 4, 2016

Iraq Says Mosque Bombings Were False Flag ISIS Attacks

Tyler Durden's picture
Earlier today, in the course of documenting the Mid-East melee that’s set to unfold amid a worsening diplomatic crisis between Iran and Saudi Arabia, we noted that two Sunni mosques were attacked in Iraq on Sunday.
“The attack on the Ammar bin Yasir mosque in central Hilla destroyed its dome and several walls,” Reuters reported. “Another mosque in Hilla's northern outskirts, al-Fath al-Mubeen, was also attacked,” sources said.

The most obvious explanation for the attacks seemed to be that angry Shiites were retaliating for the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose death triggered protests from Bahrain to Pakistan and now threatens to plunge the region into sectarian strife.
Iraqi officials however, tell a different story.
“An Iraqi official blamed the Islamic State group on Monday for the bombing of two Sunni mosques in a predominantly Shiite city in southern Iraq the previous night, saying the militant group seeks to stoke sectarian tensions,” AP reports. ISIS "did this to inflame sectarian strife in the country,”  provincial security official Falah al-Khafaji contends.  
As a reminder, the issue is a particularly sensitive one in Iraq. In the recent operation to retake Ramadi from Islamic State, Baghdad deliberately excluded Iran’s powerful Shiite militias from the battle for fear of alienating the local population. Ramadi is in the country’s Sunni heartland and the Iraqi army believed it would be in the best interest of peace and stability if Sunni tribal fighters were used to assist in the fight rather than Tehran’s proxy militias.
Many prominent Shiite lawmakers are regarded with deep suspicion among Iraqi Sunnis. Take Hakim al-Zamili for instance, who recently called for direct military intervention from Russia in the fight against ISIS. Al-Zamili was arrested in 2007 by Iraqi and American troops while holding a high ranking office in the Health Ministry. Zamili was charged with sending millions of dollars to Shiite militants who subsequently kidnapped and killed Iraqi civilians. Sunni civilians. More specifically, the US suspected Zamili “of using his position to run a rogue unit of the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia that claims loyalty to the cleric Moktada al-Sadr,” The New York Times reported at the time, adding that he was accused of “flooding the Health Ministry's payroll with militants, embezzling American money meant to pay for Iraq's overworked medical system and using Health Ministry 'facilities and services for sectarian kidnapping and murder.''
And then there's Hanan Al-Fatlawi, who distrusts the American effort to rout ISIS from Iraq and suspects the US may be working with rather than against the militants. Fatlawi famously said that “for every seven Shiites killed, we want seven Sunnis [killed] in their place," on live TV and in a subsquent on air appearance was accused of being an Iranian puppet by a Sunni tribal leader from Anbar.
The point is, the sectarian issue is particularly divisive in post-Ba’thist Iraq and because conditions are ripe for a violent Shiite backlash in the wake of Sheikh al-Nimr's execution, it's only logical to assume that the mosque bombings were the work of angry Iraqis. ISIS knows this and what the official quoted by AP is suggesting is that Islamic State staged a false flag attack in order to mobilize Iraqi Sunnis against the Shiite government and against the Shiite militias which have thus far proven to be one of the most effective forces when it comes to countering the group. Here's more from AP:
However Khafaji said he doesn't believe that the Hilla bombings were carried out by Shiites seeking revenge, instead blaming IS for seeking to exploit the current Sunni-Shiite tensions. Authorities are beefing up security around the two targeted mosques and other Sunni mosques in the city, he said.

After years of violent armed struggles between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, the government seems eager to defuse the situation and prevent Shiite militias from attacking Sunni communities or institutions.

Following local media reports claiming the Hilla bombings were revenge for al-Nimr's execution, Iraq's Ministry of Interior released a statement saying the attacks were aimed at exploiting regional tensions to "alienate Iraq's communities from one another."
Taking it a step further, one has to wonder whether there's a larger plan here. That is, if we assume ISIS, like the multitude of other Sunni extremist groups operating in the region, is taking its cues from handlers and benefactors, it's not difficult to imagine that "someone" could be attempting to create an excuse for an intervention in Iraq.
That is, an intervention ostensibly aimed at "protecting" Iraqi Sunnis from sectarian violence on the excuse that the Shiite government in Baghdad is unwilling to provide security. Who would intervene you ask? Why Sunni Saudi Arabia and Sunni Turkey of course and wouldn't you know it, Turkey already has boots on the ground. Of course Iran doesn't recognize the legitimacy of any foreign troops in Iraq other than its own, which means that in relatively short order, Iraq would become yet another theatre for what is rapidly becoming one giant war in the Mid-East and as always, everyone would claim to be fighting ISIS.
On that note, we close with the following quote from the abovementioned Hanan Al-Fatlawi:
“A hundred thousand foreign troops, including 90,000 from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Jordan, and 10,000 troops from America will be deployed in western regions of Iraq."

"During a meeting in Baghdad on November 27, John McCain told Prime Minister Haider Abadi and a number of senior Iraqi cabinet and military officials that the decision was ‘non-negotiable’."


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