News / Middle East

Scores Dead as Bombings Shake Iraq During Political Crisis

Iraqis look inside a bus damaged from shrapnel after a booby-trapped motorcycle exploded near a group of day laborers waiting for work in the Shi'ite district of Sadr City, January 5, 2012.
Iraqis look inside a bus damaged from shrapnel after a booby-trapped motorcycle exploded near a group of day laborers waiting for work in the Shi'ite district of Sadr City, January 5, 2012.

Another wave of bombings against mostly Shi'ite targets in Iraq Thursday has left dozens dead and hundreds injured. At least six explosions shook Baghdad and another hit the southern city of Nasiriyah.

The series of bombings struck multiple targets in Baghdad and in the mostly Shi'ite heartland south of the capital. It was a day of bloodshed reminiscent of some of the worst bombing waves in recent years. Dozens were killed and dozens were wounded.

Iraqi security officials said four explosions hit the mostly Shi'ite slum of Sadr City and two explosions rocked the more well-to-do neighborhood of Kazimiyah. Witnesses reported that many of the casualties were poor Shi'ite workers.

Iraq Explosions Map


The initial explosions took place during morning rush hour.

Later in the day, a suicide carbomber blew up dozens of Shi'ite pilgrims in the town of Nasiriyah. The violence comes as thousands of Shi'ite pilgrims from Iraq and elsewhere are heading toward the city of Karbala for next week's observance of Arbaeen, which marks the end of a 40-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, a revered Shi'ite figure.

The bomb attacks came just hours before Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki was due to meet Sunni parliament speaker Osama Nujeifi. The two men have been trying to find a solution to a political crisis which broke out when the Maliki government issued an warrant for Sunni Vice President Tareq al Hashemi.
.

Middle East expert Fouad Ajami of the Hoover Institution in California says the latest violence shows the weakness of the tenuous power-sharing agreement between Iraq's majority Shi'ite community and its increasingly marginalized Sunni brethren:

"It has to do with the death of the political process. It's a natural response when people despair of the political process, when there is no political process to speak of."

When the whole premise of power sharing in Iraq- I would look beyond this little explosion and that one - given the monopoly of power, and the grab for power so clearly manifest in the behavior of Nouri Maliki, then it becomes very difficult to keep faith in orderly politics. It becomes very difficult to keep faith that this country can be meaningfully shared, because I think it's obvious that Maliki believes that you can monopolize political power,” Ajami said.

Ajami says Iraq is feeling the impact of sectarian strife in neighboring Syria. He says Mr. Maliki is taking sides with the mostly Alawite government in Syria, as a popular, Sunni-dominated rebellion intensifies.

"When you look at what's happening in Syria, it triggers sectarian paranoia...the sectarian paranoia of Maliki is intensified, because he looks at Syria, a place he knew well, where he lived for 17 years in exile and he can look and see that a Sunni-ruled Syria would hold much attraction to the Anbar, to western Sunni Iraq," Ajami said.

Neighbors of Iraq and Syria are taking notice.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held a second day of talks in Iran Thursday, telling journalists that there is an increasing danger of sectarian strife in Syria "spreading to the rest of the region" and igniting a "regional Sunni-Shi'ite war."

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid