Oh, Yeah… The War

From Holden:

Shit. Another shrine is destroyed.

A Shia shrine has been blown up and at least 17 people killed as a leading Shia politician called for Iraqis to be given full control of the security services in order to end the country’s violence. Attackers planted several bombs inside the shrine to Imam Askar between the towns of Balad Ruz and Mandalay on Friday morning. The resulting explosion destroyed the monument.

The world’s largest cemetary.

Shi’ites from all over the world aspire to be buried in Najaf’s sacred Valley of Peace cemetery, but the dozens of Iraqi corpses brought there every Friday bear witness only to the carnage sweeping the country.

Baghdad morgues fill up so quickly that victims of Iraq’s sectarian violence cannot be kept for long and unidentified corpses must be moved elsewhere.


The men who wash the bodies and wrap them in white cloth according to Muslim custom have gained a first-hand view of the ferocity of Iraq’s rising sectarian violence.

Kareem al-Haidari said he usually handles 50 to 60 bodies each Friday, the Muslim holy day on which more and more Iraqis are praying for the safety of their loved ones.

“There are usually signs of torture and mutilation like the drilling of eyes and skulls, or severed limbs,” he said.

“I will never forget that horrible scene when one corpse’s head was cut off and replaced with a dog’s head.” Muslims consider dogs to be dirty animals. Most of the victims of violence are bound, a trademark sign of sectarian killings.

Seventy-five bodies arrived at the cemetery this Friday.

“Most of the bodies were bound by chains so we always have to keep a cutter nearby to cut them. Most bodies were beheaded and they have a lot of holes in the head and face,” said cemetery worker Riad Ahmed.

The regular arrival of so many unclaimed bodies has prompted wealthy residents of Najaf to buy a plot of land in the cemetery and devote it to them.

“We keep in touch with the Baghdad morgue and tell them we have room to bury a certain number. This week we agreed on 400,” said Sheikh Sadiq Zahid, one of the owners of the burial office.

Three trucks recently delivered 70 beheaded bodies to the cemetery, according to a Najaf local government media office.

There are so many unidentified bodies that some are taken to the sacred city of Kerbala, north of Najaf.