At least 120 people have now been killed as a direct result of the bombing of the Shia shrine in Iraq. Fifty bullet-riddled bodies were found in Baghdad overnight and 47 factory workers were killed at a roadblock on the outskirts of the capital. Arab TV reporter, Atwar Bahjat, and two of her crew who worked for the Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV were also killed in Samarra.

Juan Cole is reporting that the demolition of the dome of the shrine "was nothing like a hipshot sneaking up bombing by night. It was meticulous, skillful piece of work, taking a lot of time, the guards knowing all about what was going on."

That sounds like the kind of workmanship that is usually beyond the scope of a rag tag bunch of terrorists and traditionally a hallmark of intelligence agencies like the Mossad and the CIA. Have a look for yourself.

Shia shrine before

Shia shrine after

But the big mystery about these kinds of attacks in Iraq, is why any Iraqi Sunni group would ever attack a Shia shrine. There is no real history of serious ethnic strife between Sunnis and Shias and the religious differences between them are all but non-existent. The idea that there is any homegrown religious or ethnic basis for civil war between the two groups is absurd and is akin to the idea that there is a religious or ethnic basis for civil war between white American Presbyterians and Methodists.

Needless to say, the White House is seizing on the Shrine bombing and attempting to use it to promote the idea that there is no bargaining with these mysterious "terrorists"; they are terminally evil, plain and simple. Yet can anyone explain to me the logic behind 'Islamic terrorists' force Iraqi Muslims to butcher each other? Aren't the "terrorists" meant to be trying to unite the Islamic world against the Americans and Israelis rather than have them kill each other?

Aha! There's the rub, the Bush administration tells us. You see, these particular Islamic terrorists "are enemies of all faiths and of all humanity", by which logic we deduce that the Islamic terrorists are enemies of the very religion that they are trying to foist on the entire world! Which also means that we can expect to soon hear reports of Islamic terrorists all over the world committing suicide when they realise that they themselves are Islamics. But wait! Aren't they already doing that? Geez, it's all so confusing and none of it makes any real sense.

Of course it doesn't, because it's all bullshit.

Understanding of the entire messy situation only begins to seep in once we realise that it is Israel and U.S. that are the real beneficiaries of a civil war in Iraq. You see, from the point of view of American and Israeli think tanks, if Iraqis are occupied (no pun) with fighting each other, they will have less time and energy to attack American forces, which can then be used to finish off Iran and Syrian once Israel has completed a preemptive strike. Israel also benefits from a ethnically and religiously fragmented Iraq because it ensures that a country that was once something of a counter-balance to Israeli (and American) hegemony in the Middle East is transformed into an economically and militarily impotent Arab neighbor. These likely truth of this analysis of the situation is shared, it seems, by most Middle Eastern Arabs who are in the know.

Yesterday, Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said:
"U.S. and Israeli forces were behind the bombing of a holy Shiite mosque in As Samarra, Iraq. Khamenei labeled the attack a "political crime" and said the "occupiers and Zionists" plotted the bombing to provoke sectarian violence in Iraq."
Stunning only in its predictability, these comments by Ali Khamenei were completely absent from the Western Press. The truth must be denied the Western populace at all costs, as we already know.

Even pro-U.S. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani hinted at the real reason for the Shrine bombing when he said: "we are facing a major conspiracy that is targeting Iraq's unity"

Popular Shia Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called the Iraqi people to express, "unity and solidarity so as to deny any opportunity to those who wish to ignite public turmoil." I wonder who al-Sadr thinks "those who wish to ignite public turmoil" are?

So we see that just about every major political and religious leader in Iraq is calling for Iraqis to unite against attempts by some unnamed force to foment civil war, while the White House is claiming that 'evil terrorists' are in Iraq, which is not exactly helpful, but then who ever said that the American government invaded Iraq to help anyone but themselves - and Israel of course.