Inside the Middle East
April 27, 2009
Posted: 1836 GMT

From Jomana Karadsheh

BAGHDAD, Iraq - As we walked down the road leading to the Kadhimiya shrine, workers were repairing shop windows shattered by the blast two days earlier. A small group of Iranian pilgrims stopped at the scene of the bombing to look at flowers, incense, and candy and even traces of a sacrificed sheep in honor of the dead at the modest memorial that has been set up for the victims.

Jomana Karadsheh/CNN. Iranian pilgrims look at the memorial
Jomana Karadsheh/CNN. Iranian pilgrims look at the memorial

On Friday two women in black abayas (robes) blew themselves up close to the Kadhimiya shrine in Baghdad as crowds of worshipers and pilgrims were gathering for Friday prayers. The shrine, which houses the mausoleums of two of the 12 Imams is one of the most sacred sites in Shiia Islam, and attracts thousands of Iraqi and Iranian pilgris every year. The attack killed 65 people, many of whom were Iranian pilgrims, and was described as a "massacre" by survivors.

The mood at the scene of the bombing was pensive. Shop owners stood outside their damaged businesses and speculated on who stood behind the attack. The conspiracy theory mills were in full swing. One man accused the U.S. army saying it was creating turmoil to stay in Iraq and delay its planned withdrawal. The U.S. army has been gradually pulling its troops out of urban areas ahead of the June 30th deadline.

Jomana Karadsheh/CNN
Jomana Karadsheh/CNN

Such bombings usually bare the hallmarks of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has claimed responsibility for many recent bombings. According to US Military commanders, the group has been significantly weakened, but not fully defeated. Attacks like this one demonstrate AQI’s continued ability to carry out spectacular and deadly attacks in some of the capital's most protected areas.

Despite recent attacks, the men who stood in the shadow of the shrine's golden dome this Sunday, said they still had hope that Iraq would not be drawn back into the vicious cycle of retaliatory attacks and sectarian violence.

This time the bombers were tens of meters away and the shrine was not damaged. But the attack still reminded people of the bombing of the golden dome of the Samarra shrine in 2006 which unleashed a brutal sectarian war claiming the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis.

As we wrapped up our shoot, I noticed a black banner mourning the victims and demanding that the government protect the Kadhimiya shrine. It was the government's inability to protect its people and holy sites from such attacks three years ago that pushed the militias to take security matters into their own hands. As the up-tick in violence underscores the fragility of the relative peace Iraq has enjoyed over the past year, Iraqis can only hope the government will do more this time to safeguard the country from a return to violence.

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Barry   April 28th, 2009 4:30 am ET

It's amusing that Muslims still consider Israel the great enemy. Muslims kill many times more Muslims than any wars the Muslims start with Israel.

GLeigh   April 28th, 2009 2:28 pm ET

These attacks are terrible, but I keep thinking about Darfur. How aweful is that area?

Nadeem   April 28th, 2009 2:40 pm ET

What does Israel-Palestinian conflict have to do with Iraq and people dying there?

It is funny and more so sad that such crimes are committed and attributed to "muslims" (as barry calls them) at the same time when the killing of Afghan families by NATO and US soldiers is never attributed to christians, but are repeatedly considered as mistakes even when they occur twice and three times in one week.
"Christians" killed "christians" far more violently than the above horrific crime throughout history and not long time ago in world war 2. Interestingly, one of WW2's main results was the creation of NATO.

It is better to leave religion out when talking about such crimes. People/goverments who kill are just murderers. Not christian, not muslim, not jew. Although this may be obvious to many, its always good to mention the obvious when others seem to like associating murder and terrorism to a certain religion.

World traveler   April 28th, 2009 10:28 pm ET

you dont see jews or christians walking into a market and blowing people apart, or parking a car near a busy street and killing every one.

GLeigh   April 29th, 2009 3:01 am ET

Nadeem – I think pointing out the violence in any group is the first step to having them recognize and change it. People in the Middle East should perhaps get beyond all the religions and sects of religions and focus on how to find peace. People are just people and deserve much better. It's hard to believe that women, who tend to be motherly types, would blow people apart, literally. Not to be sexist, but men are usually more violent in general. Testosterone – a real human body chemical. When talking about crimes, it's good to know the criminals and work to make a safer world. Life should not be a battle against others but against viruses and poverty and hunger and over population.

Barry   April 30th, 2009 12:12 am ET

Nadeem -

Virtually all of the known terrorist groups are Islamic. Don't you think that ties Islam to terrorism? It is kind of obvious to the rest of the world. NATO is not killing civilians wantonly or purposely like Islamic terrorists do. Islamic terrorists seek to kill as many people and inflict as much pain and damage as possible – all for Allah. NATO is trying to fight these evil people who seek to kill civilians. Like in the Balkans, NATO is protecting Muslims. Because of the war crimes of Islamic terrorist groups like the Taliban, they mix with and impersonate civilians. They fight in and from civilian areas. With this illegal and dishonorable tactic, they ensure that more civilians will be killed. More sacrifices to Allah for those bloodthirsty savages.

Even Israel protects Muslims better than Islamic terrorist groups like Hamas do. Hamas tries to maximize civilian casualties, both Palestinian and Israeli. Again, it's all death and destruction in the name of Allah.

Sally   April 30th, 2009 3:49 am ET

Nadeem, it's because Barry is a hater and clearly campaiging hard against all Muslims.

GLeigh   April 30th, 2009 2:33 pm ET

Sally – I don't hate Muslims. I have a couple of Muslim friends, from my college days a few years ago. I do hate violence. So anytime, anyone, sends a missile (home made or store bought), or blows up a bomb, or kills others in any way, it's a red mark against them. Then after awhile, we add of the redmarks for everyone. Gaza and Hamas had a lot of red marks before Israel did anything about it. Other areas are accumlating them. Sometimes simple is best. I do this in my head. I do see a pattern. Most of us accept other people and other religions. Not everyone of course. Changing the world isn't about who can kill or injure, but who cares to help the most in my world. Those are the people who change others – the people who care and help.

Taken from that perspective, whose opinion is good and whose opinion is bad. I'm still watching and learning.

Barry   April 30th, 2009 2:42 pm ET

Sally -

What in my comments do you find hateful? I don't invent the facts. NATO and Israel are protecting Muslims. I support that. Terrorists seek to kill innocents in the name of their god. I don't support that. What exactly about supporting the protection of Muslims and being against terrorism do you find hateful? Do you support the killing of Muslims? Do you support terrorism?

Filipe   April 30th, 2009 3:15 pm ET

How can you say "leave religion out of it" ? Did you read the article? Where and when when was this suicide bombing??? –Outside a Mosque at prayer time.

Is there anyone who can really think that this is a crime motivated by something other than religious hatred perpetrated by those filled with hate on others who don't follow the "correct" form of Islam??

Professor   May 4th, 2009 6:16 pm ET


FYI... Its not only the Muslims who still consider Israel the great enemy... The rest of the world will realize soon that Israel is the great enemy of the world.... just like the US realized it soon with the discovery of Israeli spies on US soil. Its just a matter of time before the rest of the civilized world realize that Israeli is using and abusing those who sympathized with the jews for their suffering under hitler.

Filipe   May 5th, 2009 12:56 am ET

If it is true that the Muslims consider Israel the great enemy-– why do they take it out on each other -- daily! ?? It's pretty stupid, don't you think???

Israel-–"the great enemy of the world" !!!! Where do you get that from??

If the US really thinks that-- why is it you support them unconditionally??

Could it be that you are simply mistaken??? Just wishing for others to back your rhetoric??

Barry   May 5th, 2009 4:34 am ET

Albanian Professor -

Who else in the world considers Israel the great enemy besides Muslims? Be specific. The US does not think Israel is an enemy. The US and Israel are great friends and allies. You are wrong again, as usual.

Your predictions about who will consider Israel as a great enemy in the future are rather amusing. You can't even correctly say who beyond Muslims consider Israel to be a great enemy now, yet you feel free to predict the future. LOL You are reaching so far that it is funny and obviously desperate. You always seem to bring Hitler into the mix too. Why are you so fascinated with Hitler? Do you have designs on finishing his agenda, like Islamic terrorist organizations?

There are Muslim countries that can be classified as a great enemy now. Iran comes to mind. The UN Security Council sees Iran as a nuclear threat.

Filipe   May 5th, 2009 3:38 pm ET

Nadeem April 28th, 2009 1440 GMT

What does Israel-Palestinian conflict have to do with Iraq and people dying there?


That's a good question!

I give up! What's the answer???

Professor   May 5th, 2009 8:59 pm ET

Israeli Filipe,

Why do you think I support anyone unconditionally? No one on this earth deserve my unconditional support. Human leaders always capable of making mistakes and the US constitution gave us the right to correct them so we should always be aware of what is going on and never give unconditional support to anyone.

Professor   May 5th, 2009 9:02 pm ET

Isreali Barry,

Go check out all those countries who stop diplomatic relations with Israeli since its invasion to Gaza.... they are not muslim countries by the way.

Do you really want me to provide you with a list? I am sure you can google them yourself.

Oh and FYI... today Israel is a worst nuclear threat to the world than Iran can ever be.

GLeigh   May 6th, 2009 12:11 am ET

People think of Israeli people as "enemies?" Really? I think of the ones I know as pretty funny and laid back. I knew a couple, a Jewish couple, who were the only adults who showed up to work on the high school Christmas float. I thought it was too funny. Perhaps people just need to develop more tolerance and a better sense of humor. Get over ourselves. Consider – Out in space, the Hubble telescope took a picture (for ten days) of space the size of postage stamp. There were galaxies and stars all over it.... Many. Do you really think that such a creator worries overmuch about some of the junk we bicker about? I can't imagine it. Not if he really made it and is that grand. I just really can't and I've seen and done some pretty odd stuff, personally. I think he might really exist. That's a pretty scary thought.

Filipe   May 6th, 2009 1:50 pm ET


Maybe the first clue is that is someone has an opposing opinion your first reaction is call them "Israeli" ! This is a perfect example of someone with a bigoted and racially motivated position. I've read some of your posts. It's quite obvious there is no room in your ideology for Israel to exist, let alone be on the "correct" side of an altercation- no matter what they may do.

By the way, world leaders are in complete agreement that a nuclear armed Iran is an unacceptable situation-- your President Obama has personally made this statement-in public. I've not heard of any world leaders who have made such a statement about Israel. Israel has had nuclear arms for more than 40 years, so I fail to see your logic in assessing them as being the "worst" nuclear threat.

Barry   May 7th, 2009 3:00 am ET

Albanian Professor -

Your bigotry and racism always diminish your arguments. Not everybody who counters your lies is an Israeli agent, despite your obvious paranoia. I'd say that most people in the world disagree with your lies, not just Israelis.

Some countries have terminated diplomatic relations with Israel. This does not make them great enemies. It is for political theater only. Nations do this to the US from time to time. Countries with unstable leaders such as Venezuela tend to do it a lot. It actually means very little in real terms. It does not mean they hate each other and are going to war.

Israel might have nuclear weapons, but they have never threatened to use them against anybody. Iran has repeatedly said that they would wipe Israel off the map. Israel is not a signatory to the NPT. Iran is. Despite being a signatory to the NPT, Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Iran is not letting IAEA inspectors verify its compliance with the NPT. Obviously, they have a lot to hide. Syria is also in the same boat.

John A   May 22nd, 2009 7:38 pm ET

Israel did not sign the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty? Why?

Simple answer; If they acknowledge international law, they will be very guilty law breakers . If they don't acknowledge international law, they can claim to be innocent, as they are not bound by the law.

It’s just another irresponsible shambles generated by Israel’s blatant disregard for world opinion.

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