Flashpoint alert: Karbala

We're entering dangerous territory this week when it comes to the confrontation between Washington and Tehran.  Throngs of Iranians are heading to Karbala, Iraq to commemorate the holiest day in the Shiite calendar — the battle death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson Hussein.  Writes Juan Cole at his invaluable Informed Comment blog:

My advice to the US military is not to try to kill or capture these thousands of Iranian pilgrims even if some of them may be spies–whatever Bush says. Shiites are touchy during Muharram, especially about infidels killing or capturing them in their own holy land, where they don't think the infidels have any business being in the first place.

We shall see…