Troops Storm Baghdad Mosque

U.S., Iraqi Troops Storm Baghdad Mosque (AP)

Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. soldiers, stormed one of the major Sunni Muslim mosques in Baghdad after Friday prayers, opening fire and killing at least three people, witnesses said. In the battle for control of Mosul, Iraqi forces raided several areas overnight, killing 15 insurgents, Iraqi and U.S. military officials said. At least 13 other insurgents were captured in Mosul, authorities said. About 40 people were arrested at the Abu Hanifa mosque in the capital’s northwestern Azamiyah neighborhood, said the witnesses, who were members of the congregation. Another five people were wounded.

It appeared the raid at Abu Hanifa mosque, long associated with anti-American activity, was part of the crackdown on Sunni clerical militants launched in parallel with military operations against the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah. On Thursday, the Iraqi government warned that Islamic clerics who incite violence will be considered as “participating in terrorism.” A number of them already have been arrested, including several members of the Sunni clerical Association of Muslim Scholars, which spoke out against the U.S.-led offensive against Fallujah. “The government is determined to pursue those who incite acts of violence. A number of mosques’ clerics who have publicly called for taking the path of violence have been arrested and will be legally tried,” said Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s spokesman, Thair al-Naqeeb.

While not great from a P.R. standpoint, the willingness to go into mosques being used as havens for terrorists is vital to establishing security and achieving success in our mission.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Terrorism, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kathy K says:

    They have to go in. They really have no choice. Except to surrender to the extremists… which isn’t what I’d call a ‘choice’.

  2. ken says:

    The logic of this excapes me. Please explain to me how fighting free speech and religious freedom promotes anything worth sacrificing lives for?

    Is the American position now that Sunni clerics are not entitled to give sermons in opposition to Bush policies?

  3. Attila Girl says:

    The key term is “inciting violence.” As you may or may not be aware, freedom of speech in this country doesn’t extend to actions that are likely to cause physical harm to others (e.g., yelling “fire!” in a crowded theatre).

  4. LJD says:

    Actually, the headline I saw was more like:

    At least two people were killed and several more wounded when Iraqi troops stormed a prominent Sunni Muslim (search) mosque Friday, with U.S. soldiers serving as backup.

    This has been S.O.P. throughout. The U.S. troops are not on a rampage to piss off every one in the triangle just because of Fallujah…

    Ken- Yes, logic seems to be escaping you. How did you manage to repeatedly miss the part about “inciting violence” and “clerics… publicly called for taking the path of violence”.

    Wake up and smell the coffee. These are violent, radical extremists in Baghdad, not Muslim Americans in the U.S. Their aim is not ejecting the U.S., rather religious domination and rule of all the people of Iraq. They want to silence freedom in Iraq, no matter how many Iraqis they have to kill in the process.

    Besides, since when did they have free speech or religious freedom? Oh, since the U.S. gave it to them? O.K.

  5. Anjin-San says:

    A few words from Brent Scowcroft:

    Mr. Scowcroft’s view, widely expressed before the war, was that the U.S. should exercise extreme caution. He did not believe the planned invasion was wise or necessary. In an article in The Wall Street Journal in August 2002, he wrote:

    “There is scant evidence to tie Saddam to terrorist organizations, and even less to the Sept. 11 attacks. Indeed Saddam’s goals have little in common with the terrorists who threaten us, and there is little incentive for him to make common cause with them.”

    … But what is more important, heeding the opinion of one of the men who understands the subject perhaps better then anyone in the sphere of American goverment, or Bush being able to play fly-boy for a photo op and tell everyone he is a war president?

  6. LJD says:

    A few words from William Jefferson Clinton:

    “I did not have sexual relations with that girl (finger wagging)”.

    It has nothing to do with the post either.

  7. ken says:

    So when clerics oppose Bush policies they are now considered to be “inciting voilence” I get it.

    And when pastors in the US preach support for our troops who are killing Iraqis what is that called? Is that inciting voilence as well, or is that called patriotism?

  8. LJD says:

    Does “publicly calling for acts of violence” qualify as “opposing Bush’s policies”?

    The terrorists act outside of the very tenets of the religion they claim to be their motivation.

    All they have to do is stop blowing thingsup and vote…