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News ::
BTL: Bombing of Shiite Holy Shrine Kills Powerful Cleric and... (english)
04 Sep 2003
...Further Destabilizes U.S.-Occupied Iraq. Interview with Erik Gustafson, president of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Bombing of Shiite Holy Shrine Kills Powerful Cleric and Further Destabilizes U.S.-Occupied Iraq

Interview with Erik Gustafson, president of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, conducted by Scott Harris

The car bomb which blew up outside Iraq's holiest Shiite shrine in the southern city of Najaf on Aug. 29 took the lives more than 100 worshippers, including that of Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim, one of Shiia's most powerful and moderate religious leaders. While the U.S. occupation force blamed Baathist party loyalists or al Qaeda-connected terrorist groups for the assassination, a tape recording purported to carry the voice of Saddam Hussein denied responsibility. Iraqi police arrested nine people in connection with the bombings, who they say have ties to al-Qaeda.

This was the third and most deadly bombing to have shattered the U.S. occupation since the American-British invasion force overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime in April. Those responsible for previous bombings of the Jordanian embassy and U.N. headquarters have not yet been identified or apprehended. Some observers believe that more militant sectors of the Shiite community may benefit from the assassination by opening up political space for their more directly hostile attitude toward the American occupation and growing public support for the formation of a religious militia to protect the Shiite population.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Erik Gustafson, a veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War and president of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center. He assesses the growing violence and instability in Iraq and his organization's call for a congressional investigation into White House manipulation of intelligence used to justify the war.

Contact the Education for Peace in Iraq Center by calling (202) 543-6176 or visit their website at

Related links:

* "Facing the Truth About Iraq," by James Carroll, Boston Globe, Sept. 2, 2003

* "Calls for Vengeance as Iraq's Shias Mourn Their Dead," by Justin Huggler, Independent Digital, Aug, 30 2003

* "Killing of Ayatollah is Start of Iraqi Civil War,"by William O. Beeman, Pacific News Service, Aug. 29, 2003
* "Saudis in Iraq 'Preparing For a Holy War,'" The Financial Times, Aug. 18, 2003

* "U.S. Planners Surprised by Strength of Iraqi Shiites," by Glenn Kessler and Dana Priest, Washington Post, April 23, 2003

* Occupation Watch at

* Bring Them Home Now campaign at

* Military Families Speak Out at

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
2003 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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