Sunday, November 26, 2006


Iraqis agree the violence is all America's fault:
In interviews Saturday and in recent sermons, clerics articulated one message that appears to be gaining traction on both sides of Iraq's civil war: The U.S. presence is making matters worse, and the Americans should go home.

"The roots of our problems lie in the mistakes of the Americans committed right from the beginning of their occupation," said Sheik Ali Merza, a Shiite cleric in Najaf who is a leader of the Islamic Dawa Party.

Iraq's most prominent Sunni cleric expressed a similar viewpoint. At a Cairo news conference, Harith Dhari demanded that American troops withdraw.

"Since the beginning, the U.S. occupation drove Iraq from bad to worse," said Dhari, who became a fugitive this month after the Shiite-led government issued a warrant for his arrest on allegations that he has supported terrorism.

Khalil Maliki, a Shiite cleric based in the southern port city of Basra, also blamed the United States.

"We have all concluded that the primary party responsible for all these massacres is the American occupation," said Maliki, a representative of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr.

Some prominent religious and political leaders accuse the U.S. military of conspiring with their enemies. Sunni Arabs say U.S. troops are raiding their communities in coordination with Shiite militias.

And Shiites say that U.S. forces are working with Sunni terrorist groups to conduct strikes such as the devastating car bomb barrage in Sadr City.

U.S. troops seeking a missing American serviceman believed to be held by Muqtada Sadr's Al Mahdi militia raided Sadr City only hours before Thursday's insurgent car bomb attack. Some Shiite clerics and politicians cited those raids as evidence of American involvement in the attack.

"Recently, it has become obvious that there is cooperation between the occupation forces, Al Qaeda and the Baathists," said Sahib Amry, a Sadr representative in Najaf.
Arabs just love a good conspiracy theory, especially if it absolves them of all responsibility.


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