91 Dead in 2 Baghdad Blasts

Two women set off separate suicide bombs in two markets in Baghdad on Friday, killing at least 91 persons and wounding a similar number. Contrary to what this AP squib implies, the bombings suggest neither that “al-Qaeda” is running out of men nor that it is desperate. Women were used because they would be less likely to be closely searched, in a society where gender segregation and female honor and chastity are important values. The story that the women had Downs syndrome seems unlikely to be true; you wouldn’t trust a sensitive terror plot to someone without their full faculties. Rather, the bombings show that the Sunni Arab guerrillas seeking to destabilize Iraq have not been defeated and are still capable of making a big strike right under the noses of the surge troops. And that is how guerrilla war is– large conventional forces find it difficult to curb it.

McClatchy reports from the scene and observes, “Friday’s death toll also seemed to cement a recent steady increase in the monthly toll of Baghdad bombing deaths. In September, 164 people died from bombings, according to McClatchy statistics. That number reached a low of 76 in November, but rose to 87 in December and 100 in January. With 65 deaths on the first day of the month, February seems likely to witness another increase.”

Reuters adds other political violence on Friday:

‘ TIKRIT – A U.S. soldier was killed by indirect fire in Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad on Thursday, the U.S. military said without giving further details. Another soldier was wounded in the attack.

* KUT – Gunmen killed two policemen and wounded four civilians when they stormed a bus terminal and opened fire in Kut, 170 km (100 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.

SAMARRA – A sniper killed one Iraqi soldier while on patrol in central Samarra, 100 km (68 miles) north of Baghdad, an Iraqi army source said.

MOSUL – U.S. forces arrested seven gunmen during operations in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.’