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What About the "Hidden Imam"?

Reader comment on item: Civil War in Iraq?

Submitted by Alex (United States), Feb 28, 2006 at 16:27

My opinion is that the removal of Saddam Hussein should have been separated from the removal of the bureaucracy of his regime. Removing the Iraqi bureaucracy under the pretext of "eradicating Baathism"--while hypocritical in itself, given the eagerness of the Bush Administration and the State Department to work with ex-Baathist enforcers like Iyad Allawi (rather than with liberals like Ahmed Chalabi)--actually took Iraq further away from the stated ideals of Bush's democratizing mission, because it left an infrastructural power vacuum that has since proven ripe for the intervention of terrorism-sponsoring states and radical Islamists.

The one question that I have regarding this article concerns the role of the Askariya shrine in Shiite theology and in the ideology of the Iranian regime. Given that the Hidden or 12th Imam is said to be lying in the Askariya shrine, and given the ongoing ascendance of the ultra-radical Hojatieh movement in Iran--which believes that the Mahdi will return in a few years after an apocalyptic final spat of violence with the West--would I be totally paranoid in suspecting that the Iranians could have sponsored this attack, or at least that they could perceive it as an act of liberating the Mahdi from his occultation?

This question is admittedly obscure, but, if my suspicions prove right, then this episode could turn into a Reichstag Fire- like pretext for an wave of Staliniist terror inside Iran and for genuine mega-terrorism outside of Iran.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

There is no reason to think that destroying the dome over the shrine would hasten the return of the 12th imam. I see no reason to suspect Iranian involvement.

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