The only ones who really stood to benefit, and those who really took advantage of the al-Askariya shrine bombing, is Moqtada al-Sadr and his counterparts in Iran. Now, a preliminary investigation by the deputy governor of Saladin, where the Shia holy city of Samarra and the shrine is located, has yielded that the perpetrators of the bombing was most like… dun dun dun… Iran!
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani immediately issued a fatwa following the attack and urged the Shia faithful to restrain themselves. it was al-Sadr who organized the mass extra-judicial killings of hundreds of Sunnis afterwards. It was his Medhi Army militia, along with men infiltrated into the Interior Ministry through the UIA, who ran people off the streets in fear to their homes, and attacked dozens of Sunni mosques. He was the first to call for revenge, yet he was the one praised for brokering compromise between the Shias and Sunnis afterward.
Al-Sadr is in a power struggle with the traditional Shia leader Sistani. The outcome will determine if Iranian-backed Islamo-Facists take over Iraq or if a Unity government can be formed. The Kurds, Sunnis and Secular Parities (Ex-Prime Minister Allawi) are trying to influence the outcome by refusing to back current Prime Minister Jafari, for the same position in the newly elected Parliament. Jafrai, Sadr’s candidate, won the Shia’s own Unity Party (UIA) backing by just one vote. Now the non-Shia parties, who have 53% of the elected seats, are looking for allies amongst the Sistani followers to back another candidate for Prime Minister. Previously they had backed the current Vice President, who lost when Al Sadr cast the deciding UIA party vote. Under the constitution, the nominee of the biggest bloc in parliament gets the first chance to form a new government. The Shiites won 130 of the 275 seats giving them the biggest bloc, but not enough to govern without partners.
If the religious Shia UIA is going to insist on having its way, and al-Sadr is going to remain the most dominant force in that coalition, then the rest of Iraq is ready to block his seemingly destined ascent to power. They realize the danger of a one-party monopoly based on religion, so they’re ready to make the UIA pick a new one or instead form an even larger bloc, allowing them the pick the new government. In our own history, the Second American Revolution was when power was first transferred peacefully from John Adams, who gave up power to Thomas Jefferson, after the presidential election of 1800, effectively realigning the nation. Now, Iraq will have its own. Can the Shia give up power peacefully should it be challenged?…