Thursday, February 22, 2007

Perspective: The day civil war erupted in Iraq

Today is the one-year anniversary of the bombing of the 'Mosque of the Golden Dome', which Iraqi Shi'ites call their own '9/11'

SAMARRA, IRAQ — The town is quiet, its residents asleep. A minute after midnight, the on-duty officer at a small U.S. base in the middle of Samarra starts his log. A solitary ambulance carries a sick child through the cold February night. Then, at 6:43 a.m., Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Gallas notes the sound of two explosions. Four minutes later: "Nighthawk elements report Main Dome on the Golden Mosque has been blown up."

Gallas does not know it yet, but the attack he has just recorded will reverberate throughout Iraq and the rest of the world.

The twin explosions last February claimed no lives. But because of the attack — the destruction of a Shiite Muslim shrine in a Sunni Arab city — thousands have died as Iraqis have engaged in a frenzy of vengeance, torching mosques and publicly executing civilians.

This was the dawn of Iraq's civil war.

Read the rest at the LA Times