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Devotion and Money Tie Iranians to Iraqi City

Over just two days, about 80 Iranian pilgrims were killed in April in suicide bombings in Iraq. But even though the pilgrims are clearly a favored target for Sunni extremists in Iraq, and though the threat continues, it seems nothing will keep the Iranian
Over just two days, about 80 Iranian pilgrims were killed in April in suicide bombings in Iraq. But even though the pilgrims are clearly a favored target for Sunni extremists in Iraq, and though the threat continues, it seems nothing will keep the Iranians from coming here. On a recent afternoon, a group of pilgrims from the Iranian city of Isfahan — many in tears and in a trancelike state — inched toward the shimmering golden-domed shrine ahead chanting “Hussein beloved” in Persian. Inside, Iranians jostled other pilgrims to grip the ornate gold and silver cagelike structure bearing the tomb of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussein, shrouded in green fabric embroidered with precious stones. It is religious devotion that compels them to come. But Iran’s government is part of the equation, too, encouraging a greater Iranian presence in Iraq by supporting companies that control a lucrative segment of the pilgrimage business and renovating and maintaining Shiite shrines in Iraq. While the United States and surrounding Arab nations worry about direct Iranian influence and support for armed groups, the pilgrimages present a small but important example of Iran’s rising soft power in Iraq. And it is something that makes Iraqis increasingly resentful.
Recently, the Interior watkins insurance Ministry banned Persian signs fertility health insurance inside Karbala despite cypress property insurance the adventure holiday insurance fact most Iranian pilgrims kentucky renters insurance speak female car insurance no Arabic. In April, Karbala’s residents commercial insurance policy demonstrated against symetra life insurance the awarding of auto insurance plano a contract to an Iranian company, Al Kawthar, to renovate the historic city center, including the area around the shrines of Imam Hussein bad credit auto insurance and his brother Abu dj public liability insurance best disability insurance best insurance mortgage protection Fadhil allstate insurance auto al-Abbas, part of a $100-million project. Officials say they have been inundated bradford and bingley car insurance wawanesa car insurance roadster insurance with petitions against the Iranian petcare insurance proposal. “We are Arabs, we sutton insurance will not accept to be colonized by anyone,” said car insurance explained Ali al-Hayawi, a hotel owner in Karbala catering to pilgrims, student accident health insurance who is opposed to nicotine insurance Iran’s involvement in the project. “We do directchoice insurance not take orders small business association health insurance from the Iranians.” The dynamic in aetna medicare insurance Karbala suggests caravan insurance france that Iran may have a hard time exerting any deep auto owners insurance company sway among Iraqis, even among fellow Shiites, with suspicion playing eyemed vision insurance out on several fronts. But scottish equestrian insurance travel insurance nz at the national level, the relationship is more of a tug of war. The Iraqi government may want to keep Iran at arm’s length, but it also needs Iran economically and massachusetts home insurance individual dental insurance ppo as a strategic ally. Iran and Iraq rav4 insurance medical insurance in New York have always had a contentious relationship, and it became more complicated with the professional malpractice insurance American presence in Iraq. The two predominantly Shiite countries share an nissan car insurance disability insurance alberta low cost car insurance 800-mile border and winter travel insurance historical, cultural and trade ties, but attitudes on car insurance imports both sides medical insurance in Michigan remain colored pay monthly car insurance both by ancient motorcycle insurance usa enmities and an eight-year war in down under travel insurance the 1980s that left hundreds of thousands dead restrictive covenant indemnity insurance or home contents insurance cover maimed. Saddam Hussein did allow Iranian pilgrims back into best house insurance Iraq in the mid-1990s, ohio long term care insurance but it was a fraction of the current number and they were under the constant watch of his buy contents insurance secret police. Iraq signed travel insurance coordinators an agreement with audi tt insurance group woman car cheap driver insurance Iran in 2005 to allow up to 5,000 Iranian pilgrims auto insurance toronto in each day. Most come by land and travel life insurance stay for a week. There are also catering trailer insurance home insurance virginia three daily flights now ferrying Iranian pilgrims to Iraq. Tehran wants to send many more and to improve the infrastructure in homeowners insurance new york the shrine cities white horse insurance ireland federal professional liability insurance to cheap liability auto insurance allow it. Karbala, for instance, receives millions of visitors each year but has a maximum hotel capacity of 23,000, local officials say. Nationalists and Sunni extremists aside, many Iraqis welcome Iranian pilgrims, whose business is vital for home insurance premiums the economies of this shrine city, nearby Najaf and drink driving car insurance the area around the Shiite shrine in the Kadhimiya district of Baghdad. columbian life insurance company And the government deploys rented house insurance its fire and casualty insurance security forces liberally to protect them. At the same time many Iraqis bristle at Iran’s perceived negative influence and meddling in internal politics, especially peoples choice car insurance through the governing Iraqi Shiite parties that have been nurtured by Iran for years. “Three-quarters of the power is in their hands,” said home insurance comparison Haidar Abdul-Hassan, a shopkeeper in Karbala, referring health care liability insurance life insurance quote online to Iranians and their illinois car insurance quote Iraqi allies. Iraqi officials, eager not to be seen as beholden to car classic insurance online quote Iran, become cagey and agitated when storage contents insurance asked about Iranian influence in Karbala, insisting that it is minimal. A closer look, though, reveals a different picture. Behind the Imam Hussein shrine, through car insurance liverpool victoria a dimly lighted hotel lobby and up a flight of stairs are the artwork insurance offices of mountaineering travel insurance Shamsa, a private Iranian company that has commercial insurance ma a virtual monopoly on Iranian pilgrimages to Iraq. Shamsa gets to choose which Iraqi companies to deal with for the transportation, protection and accommodation of in car insurance sentinel auto insurance pilgrims. two car insurance policy car insurance rate nj Almost title insurance endorsements all california dental insurance its partners are companies affiliated with Iraqi political parties close to Iran, according to those in nationwide insurance employment the business. An example is the Ihsan private security calgary auto insurance quotes company, which car collector insurance is close to the influential Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. Tucked inside a warren dental insurance in Maryland ontario car insurance broker of alleys in Karbala’s bazaar are the nondescript offices of Setad single trip family travel insurance Bazsazi Atabat Aliyat. business vehicle insurance It pet shop insurance is a company owned by the Iranian government, involved in shrine renovation worldwide and busy at work here. An entry lic life insurance on a whiteboard acuity insurance company reads: southland dental insurance “Deliver five air-cooling units to Imam Hussein’s shrine.” Glossy graphic designs oregon state disability insurance of the contentious Karbala shrine cruise travel insurance blue cross blue shield supplemental insurance renovation project hang on the walls. The project entails demolishing old homes, enlarging the plaza between the shrines and constructing two underground levels and shopping malls. Al Kawthar, the Iranian company awarded the design contract, is a Setad car insurance nz affiliate. Both operate in business motor insurance all shrine cities. Projects in Karbala alone include a hospital, several lady car insurance large hotels and apartment complexes and an Iranian-run religious seminary. In May 2008, Setad’s chairman told Iranian news media that Iran donated nearly $1 billion pet care pet insurance to equip and renovate Iraq’s keller insurance shrines. Shrine insurance protection gap officials in Karbala auto insurance in FL at the time said the number was commercial liability insurance california “highly exaggerated.” The United States military commander car insurance adjuster car insurance quote in ontario for the nine permanent life insurance quote mainly Shiite provinces south of Baghdad, including Karbala, said recently that while Iran reduced but did student liability insurance not completely cut off its car insurance in nj “lethal support” and arming of militias in Iraq, non resident travel insurance it had sought to increase its soft power john deere crop insurance through let buildings insurance charities and economic and political organizations. “Some of it cheap car insurance for women uk is direct bike insurance good,” said inland insurance the 125cc motorbike insurance mg classic car insurance commander, Maj. Gen. Michael plasterer insurance Oates. “My concern is the degree to which they cheap auto insurance quotes may seek to influence Iraqi politics.”

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