BEIRUT — While the world watches New Orleans drown, Baghdad has seen the single greatest loss of life when thousands of Shi’ite pilgrims panicked on a bridge over the Tigris and stampeded after rumors flew among the crowd that two suicide bombers were in the midst…. They drowned in the river and suffocated on land…. I don’t have any words for this, but the Iraqis don’t deserve this.
So, in the process of updating to MovableType 3.2, I somehow managed to destroy my custom templates… Which explains the somewhat plain-jane look of the blog now. I hope to get this fixed in the coming days. My apologies for this.
Some updates on the clashes in Najaf and elsewhere: The clashes last night erupted because Moqtada’s people were demonstrating at the same time and near another demonstration by residents of Najaf who were protesting the lack of aid in rebuilding their homes and city.
Earlier this evening, Najaf police units, led by a Badr Organization commander, descended on Moqtada’s office in Najaf, located on the main street approaching the Imam Ali Shrine. In the clash, Moqtada’s office, only four meters from the shrine, was burned to the ground, according to Abu Hazzim, who worked in the Najaf office and fled for his life to Sadr City. He says 23 people have been killed, most of them Moqtada’s supporters. Iraqi Army and police have been involved in the fighting. Many of the police and army units in the south are packed by Badr militiamen with more loyalty to the party than to the state. As I write, clashes continue.
And despite some protests that the Iraqis again broke the law of the TAL, I don’t think they did…. As near as I can tell, as long as they hold a referendum on Oct. 15, there’s nothing legally wrong with waiting until Oct. 14 for parliamentary approval…. Also, there’s nothing in the TAL forbidding amending the draft after it’s turned in. Since it’s not forbidden, the National Assemblyâ€”again, theoreticallyâ€”could amend the damn thing willy-nilly…