Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
April 25, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

Truthdig Bazaar


By Daniel Ellsberg

Mission Italy: On the Front Lines of the Cold War

Mission Italy: On the Front Lines of the Cold War

Richard N. Gardner, Zbigniew Brzezinski

more items

Email this item Print this item

The 5 Most Alarming Developments in Iraq

Posted on Jul 7, 2014

By Juan Cole


This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

1.  Airstrikes killed 7 and wounded 30 in Mosul on Sunday.  But it isn’t clear who was flying the planes!  The U.S. denies it was Americans, and the spokesman for the Baghdad government said he did not know anything about it. The Syrian and Iranian air forces are other possibilities. It is likely the Iraqi air force, but it is alarming that you have anonymous airstrikes in a country.

2.  2-3 Iranian military men are now reported by hard line Iranian sites to have died fighting to save the Shiite shrine in Samarra from being destroyed by the so-called “Islamic State”, a radical, violent Salafi group.  Here is another such report.  Iran initially denied it had boots on the ground, but there are growing reports of such (and small special ops Iranian forces previously operated in the same ways in Syria).

3.  Hard line Shiite cleric and politician Muqtada al-Sadr said it would be positive for Iraq if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a contentious figure, steps down.  But he said that the new prime minister should be from the Da’wa Party headed by al-Maliki, since it and its small allies won the most seats in parliament under the State of Law rubric.  It is not clear that anyone in the Da’wa Party would oppose al-Maliki or who exactly might emerge from the party as PM.  Meanwhile, Iran is said to have doubled down on al-Maliki!


Square, Site wide
4.  Although the so-called “Islamic State” has destroyed several Sunni, Sufi and Shiite shrines and places of worship in the past month, probably the most significant is the tomb of medieval saint Ahmad al-Rifa`i (d. 1183 AD).  The Rifa`i Sufi order claims him as its founder.  Sufis practice meditation and chanting and they seek mystical union with God.  There are plenty of Rifa`is in Syria and the order is popular in Egypt, and still has adherents throughout the Muslim world,from Bosnia to Gujarat.  IS is not making a good reputation for itself in most of the Sunni world, where there is still respect for mystics like Rifa`i.  One of its allies of convenience is the Naqshbandi Sufi order in Mosul, members of which won’t be happy about all this shrine-bashing.  This gives you the flavor of how a lot of Sunnis responded:

5.  Dr. Ibrahim al-Badri of Samarra, who has convinced himself he is a medieval caliph named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, gave a Friday sermon last Friday.  He said he was humble and asked for advice and corrections of his behavior.  Twitter   advised him not to sport a $7000 watch in the midst of the economic depression into which his group has thrown much of Syria and Iraq.  Also, he might want to give up the serial killer and mass murderer gigs, which aren’t really appropriate to a holy man.  There was other ridicule among the tweeps.


Related video:

Reuters:  “A wall to protect Iraq’s Diyala” 

Lockerdome Below Article
Get a book from one of our contributors in the Truthdig Bazaar.

Related Entries

Get truth delivered to
your inbox every day.

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook