Sectarian violence on the rise as 50 die over two days in Iraq
Patrick Cockburn is an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent. He was awarded Foreign Commentator of the Year at the 2013 Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards.
Thursday 16 May 2013
Attacks across Iraq have killed 50 people in the last two days as growing friction between Sunni and Shia leads to more sectarian violence. Sunni anger has been increasing since Iraqi army soldiers broke up a peaceful sit- in in a square in the town of Hawaijah last month and killed 51 people including at least eight children.
Car bombs exploded in Shia districts of the capital, targeting places where civilians are likely to gather. The first of the bombings took place at a bus and taxi stop in the Shia working class bastion of Sadr City in East Baghdad. Nine people were killed including a child and 16 were wounded. Car bombs blew up in two other Shia neighbourhoods, in one case a a taxi stop and in another a small market. A further five people were killed and 14 wounded.
Overall 17 people were killed today and 33 yesterday. The attacks bare the hall mark of al-Qa’ida in Iraq that has been showing greater strength because mounting Sunni hatred of the Shia dominated government. Sunni in Baghdad, who make up less than a fifth of the population in the capital, are fearful that their remaining enclaves will targeted if there is a return to the violence of the sectarian civil war which was at its height in 2006-7.
Since the Hawiajah massacre on 23 April Sunni local leaders have been demanding an army withdrawal from Sunni majority provinces in northern and central Iraq. Previously, the Sunni had welcomed a military presence as a counter-balance to Kurdish control.
Car bombings in the last two days have been aimed mainly at Shia civilians, but a suicide bomber in the northern city of Mosul drove his car into an army checkpoint killing two soldiers and wounding three. Sunni lawmakers considered too moderate by al-Qa’ida have also been singled out for assassination. Gunmen in south west Baghdad shot the brother of a Sunni politician today killing him and wounding two of his bodyguards in a drive-by shooting.
Iraq’s Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said sectarianism was behind the latest attacks. He said “we have to know that today’s bloodshed is the result of sectarian hatred and also the stirring up of these sectarian tensions.” But Sunni blame him for marginalising them, rejecting reforms and winning election by frightening the Shia majority with the prospect of a Sunni counter-revolution.
Islamic State: Pope is 'being targeted by Isis', Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
Scotland independence: A nation divided against itself: Brown says SNP are liars. Darling joins in. Salmond fights back
John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time
Richard III: Two years after his body was found scientists discover how he died
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Watch a man race the Circle line and win
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...
£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...