IRAQ’S PENDING CIVIL WAR, CONT’D….On the other hand, after a couple of days of violence Iraq’s leading clerics seem to be united in calling for calm:

Iraq’s most influential Shia political leader, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, said the bombers who attacked the shrine in Samarra “do not represent Sunnis in Iraq”.

….Despite the curfew in Baghdad, followers of radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr attended his sermon in the Sadr City district, hearing him urge restraint. “We are not enemies but brothers,” he told them. “Anyone who attacks a Muslim is not a Muslim.”

A large crowd similarly attended prayers at the Abu Hanifa mosque, Baghdad’s most important Sunni site. Imam Ahmed Hasan al-Taha said the bombing was a conspiracy to draw Iraqis into sectarian conflict.

Whether this conciliatory attitude lasts beyond the next provocation ? or even beyond next week ? seems increasingly less likely to me. But it’s still encouraging to hear a widespread call from Iraqi clerics to calm down following Wednesday’s bombing.

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