Hundreds of thousands of Shiites chanting "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" marched through the streets of Baghdad's biggest Shiite district Friday in a massive show of support for Hezbollah in its battle against Israel.
The demonstration was the biggest in the Middle East in support of Hezbollah since Israel launched its attacks against the guerrillas in Lebanon on July 12. The protest was organized by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political movement built around the Mahdi Army militia has been modeled after Hezbollah.
Protesters set fire to American and Israeli flags, as well as effigies of President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, showing the men with Dracula teeth. "Saddam and Bush, Two Faces of One Coin" was scrawled on Bush's effigy.
Iraqi government television said the Defense Ministry had approved the demonstration, a sign of the public anger over Israel's offensive in Lebanon and of al-Sadr's stature as a major player in Iraqi politics.
"I consider my participation in this rally a religious duty. I am proud to join this crowd and I am ready to die for the sake of Lebanon," said Khazim al-Ibadi, 40, a government employee from Hillah.
Judges in Egypt called upon the government to dissolve its peace agreement with Israel, on the grounds that it is inconceivable for Egypt to coexist peaceably with Israel while the IDF operates in Lebanon. The judges expressed support of popular resistance against Israeli advances, which, in their eyes, is the only way to protect the Arab ummah (greater nation).
In a statement issued Thursday, Egyptian judges censured “the barbaric Israeli attacks on the Palestinian and Lebanese people.” They also warned of American attempts “to rearrange the Middle East, based on the ‘Greater Middle East’ plan, via Israeli pride and American hegemony, in whose eyes the lives of hundreds of Arab children are not worth the wounds of one Israeli child.”
The judges expressed their belief that the popular resistance is the only way to protect the Arab nation and their honor, and stated their support of “the bravery of Lebanese resistance fighters and the stance of Lebanese people of all denominations.” The statement declared that it is inconceivable that the US will continue to be considered a friend or strategic ally of any nation in the region, after having proven itself to be the primary instigator of attacks on the Arab nation. According to the judges, the US incited this attack, encourages it, and is the main beneficiary from it.
Dr Sharif Hatem Al Aouni, member of the Shura Council, stressed the importance of being impartial while tackling the current events. ”It is odd to term the resistance in Lebanon as muscle flexing, because the reality of Lebanese situation refutes such an allegation. Therefore, we should keep silent if we are not in a position to support the resistance in Lebanon.“
Al Sharif said: ”We differ with the Shiites over basic principles in Islamic jurisprudence, but we should not blaspheme them, because they are Muslims. Which also makes it imperative for us to support them in their fight against the infidel enemy. We should delay our differences until these delicate circumstances are over.“
Friday, August 04, 2006