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Who Gave the Orders to Inspect a Mosque?

Who Gave the Orders to Inspect a Mosque?

By Firas Al-Atraqchi

A row has broken out between Iraqi officials and UNMOVIC over a controversial inspection of one of Baghdad's largest and most populated mosques, the Al-Nidaa mosque.

Five UNMOVIC inspectors visited the mosque and interrogated its imam, Sheikh Qutaiba Ammash. They inquired as to the dimensions of the mosque and how many people it could house during prayers.

An outraged Ammash later held a news conference and asked, "Are the inspectors searching for weapons of mass destruction or are they trying to measure the extent of faith in our hearts?"

CNN's Nick Robertson, speaking during a live broadcast, said that the head of the inspections team in Baghdad had no idea who gave the orders for the five inspectors to intrude upon the mosque.

Analysts in the region believe that the inspection was orchestrated by U.S. National Security Adviser Condi Rice to raise the level of tension between Iraq and the U.N. and provoke Iraq into the daring, if not foolish, act of non-cooperation. This would then give the Bush administration the excuse it needs to unilaterally wage war.

With only five days ticking until UNMOVIC's dramatic report to the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. administration is facing an onslaught of domestic and international opposition to the military option. MSNBC today reported that seventy percent of Americans favor giving UNMOVIC more time to search for weapons.

While the mosque visit is sure to inflame many Iraqis, including many Shiites whom the U.S. Administration was hoping would support regime change, it is unlikely that Iraqi officials will allow such an act to impede cooperation with UNMOVIC.

What is likely, however, is the growing sentiment throughout the rest of the Middle East and Asia that the current U.S. administration is increasingly hostile to Islam and is only pursuing strategic interests in the region.

In its desperate bid to change world opinion, the Bush administration has committed a grave blunder with the Al-Nidaa mosque inspection.


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