“There’s still a tendency to see these things in Sunni-Shia terms. But the Middle East is going to have to overcome that.” – Condoleezza Rice, January 2007.
Still waiting? Hope you brought a book. “Bomb Kills at Least 53 Pilgrims in South Iraq,” by Nabil al-Jurani for the Associated Press, January 14:
A bomb killed at least 53 Shiite pilgrims near the southern port city of Basra on Saturday, an Iraqi official said. It was the latest in a series of attacks during Shiite religious commemorations that have killed scores of people and threaten to further increase sectarian tensions just weeks after the U.S. withdrawal.
Why are they tense? Do they need a spa day?
The attack happened on the last of the 40 days of Arbaeen, when hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims from Iraq and abroad visit the Iraqi city of Karbala, as well as other holy sites.
Saturday’s blast occurred near the town of Zubair as pilgrims marched toward the Shiite Imam Ali shrine on the outskirts of the town, said Ayad al-Emarah, a spokesman for the governor of Basra province. The shrine is an enclave within an enclave — a Shiite site on the edge of a mostly Sunni town in an otherwise mostly Shiite province.
There were conflicting reports on the source of the blast.
Al-Emarah said the explosion was caused either by a suicide attacker or a roadside bomb. But an Iraqi military intelligence officer who is investigating the attack said it was a roadside bomb, noting that the road from Basra to Zubair being used by pilgrims had been closed to traffic. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief the media….