News / Middle East

Sectarian Violence Skyrockets in Iraq

Sectarian Violence Skyrockets in Iraqi
X
May 07, 2013
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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid