Monitoring Iraq on Al-Jazeera
I've spent most of my day yesterday glued to Al-Jazeera as they continually monitored the hour-by hour developments in Iraq following the attack on the Golden Mosque.
Unfortunately I don't get the channel on my normal digital cable, so I had to get to an Egyptian Cafe to watch their coverage. Which was frustrating a bit because a) The Place was packed b) You had close to 50 people shouting at the T.V. and some of the Iraqi guys that were there were frantically trying to get a hold of their relatives after each breaking news of fresh attacks. Which made it very hard to concentrate. and c) I couldn't live blog the whole thing.
Anyway here are the highlights of the coverage (From what I can renember):
-Both Shia and Sunni leaders and head lawmakers are doing everything they can to calm the situation down. They even got together for a joint televised appeal asking all the Iraqi people to help end the cycle of violence. Kurdish groups have also asked for unity and cooperation of all parties.
-There's been allot of conflicting reports of attacks. For example, in the mourning they were detailing how a mosque was torched in Baghdad, then they retract it 2 hours later saying its in another city and finally an hour after that they acknowledge that the original and modified reports were not true.
This was escalating tensions very fast, so eventually the government had to release the correct data as to what and what has not been attacked and destroyed in hope of calming people down.
Omar from ITM has the details.
-During a call-in session some callers were blaming the attack on the Golden Mosque on the Mossad and the CIA. *Sigh*
-All the people ordinary people that they spoke to affirmed that they did not want a civil war and hoped the situation would calm. (Like I predicted)
-That's not to say everything is fine, far from it. There will still eventually be terror exchanges by the extremists of both Shia and Sunni factions. Factions which were never controllable in the first place since the fall of Saddam. However, an all-out Civil war for the moment seems improbable.
-Curfew was extended in some cities, which many people and experts agreed was the right thing to do.
Will all these efforts take hold and prevent further escalation? I don't know, this will all depend on the efforts of all parties involved, but we can at least (for now) breath a little sigh of relief that no civil war would break out. But there will be some more bloodshed. That's unavoidable when it comes to situations like this unfortunately. And remember, when it comes to matters of religion in the Middle East, nothing's set in stone.