Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fears of Shia civil war following assasination of provincial governor

Above: Mourners carry the coffins of Khalil Jalil Hamza, the governor of Qadisiyah province and the provincial police chief, Maj. Gen. Khalid Hassan today. Hamza was a member of the powerful Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), the biggest Shi'ite party in Iraq, whose followers have frequently clashed with supporters of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Diwaniyah as well as other areas in southern Iraq.

Residents of the southern Iraqi city of Diwaniya said on Sunday they feared all-out war among rival Shi'ite factions after the governor and police chief were assassinated.

Diwaniya governor Khalil Jalil Hamza and police chief Major-General Khaled Hassan were killed on Saturday when their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb.

Retired civil servant Akram Adel said residents worried the fighting could quickly escalate and spread.

"The fear is of an open armed conflict," he said.

"This could burn down the city completely. It will not be limited to Diwaniya but would extend to all of Iraq, becoming a Shi'ite-Shi'ite war, and God knows when it would end."

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

Related Link:
Perspective: The new battle for Basra

Related Link:
Perspective: In Iraqi south, Shiites press for autonomy