News / Middle East

Sectarian Violence Skyrockets in Iraq

Sectarian Violence Skyrockets in Iraqi
X
May 07, 2013 11:05 PM
Iraq Skyrocketing sectarian violence and escalating political conflict in Iraq have some Middle East analysts concerned that Iraq may be on the brink of civil war. As VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports, the latest upsurge in violence is the worst since the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops
Meredith Buel
Skyrocketing sectarian violence and escalating political conflict in Iraq have some Middle East analysts concerned that Iraq may be on the brink of civil war. The latest upsurge in violence is the worst since the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops.

With sectarian bombings and shootings escalating, April was the deadliest month in Iraq in nearly five years.

The United Nations says more than 700 people were killed.

Abdullah Hassan witnessed one blast in Baghdad.

''What have those innocent people done to deserve this? So many people were either killed or injured," Hassan said.

This is the bloodiest confrontation between Iraq’s minority Sunni community and the predominantly Shi’ite government since the final withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011.

“The standoff between Iraqi security forces and various Sunni protestors, armed Sunni groups and offshoots of al-Qaida - that is very, very troubling,” said former U.S. ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey.

The recent upsurge in violence began when government troops raided a Sunni protest site near Kirkuk last month.

The clashes left dozens dead.

Iraqi politics are deeply divided along sectarian lines and the government has been mired
in crisis over how to share power between Shi’ites, Sunnis and Kurds.

The political landscape is paralyzed, according to Sarhang Hamasaeed of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

“The parliament, the Council of Ministers, the Provincial Councils are so much now driven into sectarian and religious and political divisions it is not possible for them to engage in real dialog,” Hamasaeed said.

Analysts say insurgents affiliated with al-Qaida are bombing mosques and other civilian targets in an effort to stoke sectarian conflict.

In 2006-2007 tens of thousands of people died and now there are no U.S. troops to help quell the violence.

“The civil war in the past was related to problems that happened in the past, it was a kind of revenge.  But the war today will be for the future of Iraq," said Sarmad al-Taie, an Iraqi political commentator.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has appealed for calm and dialogue.

“I can honestly say that if the sectarian sedition bursts there will not be a winner or a loser, all of us will be losers,” al-Maliki said.

Analysts say Sunni Arab sheikhs who had been urging restraint are now calling for war and reports say some of their followers are preparing to fight.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid