37 Killed in 4 Iraqi Car Bombings; Gul to Baghdad

McClatchy reports that four bombings around Iraq killed 37 and wounded 60 on Monday.

A bombing at a mechanic’s shop in Abu Ghraib to the west of Baghdad killed 9 and wounded 27. There were also bombings in Mosul and near the northern Turkmen city of Tal Afar.

But most worrisome of all was an attack on a Kurdish wedding in Jalawla, Kurdish city in ethnically mixed Diyala Province. Kurdish desires to incorporate northern Diyala (or perhaps all of Diyala) into the Kurdistan confederacy have led to tensions with Arabs of the province, who oppose this change. Some Sunni Arabs in the province, moreover, have joined the radical Salafi group, the Islamic State of Iraq, and have repeatedly attacked Kurds, Shiites and those Sunni Arabs they consider to be collaborating with the US or with the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

McClatchy writes,

“There will be new mourning inside every Kurdish house,” said Deshti Ali, whose cousins were injured in the blast. “Everyone is afraid that today is the start of a new chain of explosions in the city.”

The conflict between Arabs and Kurds over territory in the north is shaping up as the next big battle, figurative or literal,in Iraq.

Meanwhile,the Turkish president Abdullah Gul visited Baghdad on Tuesday, seeking a deal on how to handle the Kurdish issue.

Aljazeera English reports on the call by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for reconciliation with former members of the now-dissolved Baath Party. This move appears to be an election maneuver by al-Maliki, positioning him as the candidate of national unity for next November.

Aljazeera English reports on Iraqi refugees in Amman, Jordan, who lack work visas and live precarious lives. There are an estimated 200,000 such refugess in Jordan (estimates of 500,000 or even 700,000 are vast exaggerations) and as many as a million in Syria. Most are afraid to return to their neighborhoods because of ethnic cleansing campaigns and ongoing death threats. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimates that 50,000 Iraqis in Jordan are “vulnerable,” which is a technical term and an ominous one.

Aljazeera English reports on the problems Iraq refugees who have made it to the US face in finding employment in tough economic times. The US accepted 12,000 such refugees from Jordan in 2008 and says it will take a similar number in 2009. Some of these refugees have no English, and unemployment may force them back to dangerous neighborhoods in Iraq, from which they were ethnically cleansed by the reigning militias.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Monday:

‘ Baghdad

Nine civilians were killed and 23 others wounded by a roadside bomb inside a car maintenance workshop in Abu Ghraib district in west Baghdad around 12 p.m.

Seven people were injured including two national police members when a roadside bomb detonated in Doura neighborhood in south Baghdad on Monday evening.

Diyala

At least 25 people were killed and 45 others were injured when a suicide bomber detonated inside mourning tent in Jalawla town northeast of Baquba city on Monday evening.

Nineveh

Four civilians and two policemen were injured when a suicide bomber detonated in Bab al Bedh area in downtown Mosul on Monday afternoon.

A policeman was killed and five civilians were injured when a suicide bomber detonated the policeman in Tal Afar town west of Mosul on Monday afternoon.

Two civilians were killed by a roadside bomb that targeted their car in Wadi hajar area south of Mosul city on Monday afternoon.’

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