Monday, September 1, 2003

Baqer al-Hakim: Five detained but no one suspected the butler?

Iraqis attend the funeral of Muslim Shi'ite leader Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, in Baghdad

A sea of mourners has filled northern Baghdad to bid farewell to a top Shi'ite Muslim cleric killed in a bombing, as officials say up to five Iraqis have been detained over the attack.

But why is it that the media automatically failed to nominate the butler as a possible terrorist? The Coalition who has been waiting on Iraq hand and foot since the pre-emptive strike on the country and who also declared that Iraq won't become a Shiite State had a good reason to blow up Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim, who advocated cautious cooperation with Washington.

Richard Armitage US Deputy Secretary of State; went on the record according to Andrew Wilke Australia's former Ambassador to the United States saying that, "If the US don't stabilise Iraq in 12 Months they're funked.

The Governor of the holy city of Najaf, the scene of Friday's bombing in which 83 people were killed and 175 were wounded, says the suspects have links to the old power structure of ousted president Saddam Hussein.

"There are several suspects, none of whom has citizenship other than Iraqi," Haidar al-Mayyali told a news conference. Asked about reports the attackers had links to Al Qaeda, Mr Mayyali said: "There is no exact information on this matter."

Good answer which is what I can't say about mainstream media running off with the ball. That's how you investigate murder is it? What about "don't count anyone out until they're struck out". If you have 10 people in a room and when the lights went out someone was murdered I would have thought that everyone was a suspect? But in this case when the lights went back on again no one blamed the butler as a possible suspect.

Main Stream Media could you please explain? I mean it wasn't as if the US had no reason to divide and conquer, and blaming Al Qaeda was cute, if you wanted to take out your opposition without nominating yourself as a suspect.

The attack intensified international debate on stabilising Iraq, with Russia saying it would back a United Nations force for the country even if it was under US command.

Crying men and women dressed in black thronged streets around Baghdad's golden-domed Mousa al-Kadhim mosque for the start of the funeral rites of Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim.The tens of thousands of mourners chanted and beat their chests in traditional Shi'ite rituals as the coffin draped in a large black cloth was carried through the crowd to a truck, guarded by men with automatic rifles.

Hakim, who returned to Iraq from 23 years of exile in Iran after US-led forces toppled Saddam in April, headed the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), one of the country's most prominent Shi'ite groups.

His killing sent shockwaves through Iraq's Shiites, who make up around 60 per cent of the 26 million population. Authorities say two booby-trapped cars exploded in the attack and around 700 kilograms of explosives had been used.

The funeral procession will take in several Shiite holy sites in Iraq before a burial ceremony on Tuesday in Najaf, some 160 kilometres south of Baghdad. Many Shiites have blamed Friday's attack on die-hard supporters of Saddam, who repressed the Shiites when he was in power. Some analysts have suggested Shiites opposed to Hakim's moderate political position could be to blame.

The slain cleric's brother Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who sits on Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council that Washington sees as a first step towards democratic elections, says US-led forces bear some responsibility as security was in their hands. "They are ultimately responsible for the innocent blood which is being shed every day all over Iraq," he said.

Mohammed Bahr al-Uloum, a leading Shi'ite scholar, said he was suspending his membership of the Governing Council in protest at Hakim's killing. Iraq's US-led interim administration says it faces a tough balancing act as it wants to provide security but not offend Muslims by placing foreign troops near holy sites. US officials have said little about who they think is behind the bombing, but have cited foreign Islamic militants as possible suspects for similar attacks earlier this month which targeted the UN offices and the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad.

Hakim's nephew Ammar al-Hakim said: "According to the limited results of the investigation up to now we can say that the (Saddam) regime in cooperation with certain extremists was behind this. They could have extensions beyond Iraq".

Saudi Arabia has challenged those who claimed its citizens were involved in the attack to produce evidence.

"Some sources in Iraq have said that Saudi citizens were involved in the terrorist incident which claimed the life of Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim," a foreign ministry spokesman said, quoted by the official SPA news agency.

"These sources did not present any proof for their claims. The government of Saudi Arabia hopes these sources will reveal the information they have and pass it on to the government of the kingdom instead of making unsubstantiated allegations."

The statement followed claims that at least two Saudis were among 19 people detained in connection with the bombing.

By The Devil Made Me Do IT 1 September 03

THE EAGLE: Our members and contacts include butlers, personal assistants, private chefs, couples, estate managers, house managers, housekeepers, nannies, property managers, hotel butlers, private service consultants, bomb experts and other domestic specialists.


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