At Least 55 Dead, Over 100 Wounded In Ashura Bombings
Eight suicide bombers struck at various sites in Iraq on Saturday, killing and wounding dozens during the commemboration of Ashura. This holy day is sort of like Easter Friday for Shiites, when they remember the martyrdom of Husain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The guerrillas, who are from a Sunni Arab background, are hoping to provoke the Shiites into attacking Sunnis, so as to throw the country into (even greater) chaos. They hope massive sectarian warfare will force the US out and will allow them to make a coup and come back to power.
Contrary to what Hilary Clinton said in Baghdad on Saturday, this series of huge explosions does not demonstrate that the guerrilla insurgency has failed or is weakening. Rather, the attacks demonstrate that the guerrilla war is still being waged fiercely.
Al-Hayat reports that a decision on the new prime minister will not be announced until at least Wednesday. The decision was postponed in part because of Ashura, and in part because of the difficulty in getting a “green light” from Washington in the wake of Ambassador John Negroponte’s appointment as intelligence czar. (US news sources have not spoken as openly of the need for a green light from Washington, but al-Hayat’s sources are frank about it. This frankness agrees with the comment made by one embassy official that Iraq cannot select a prime minister who is unacceptable to Washington.
I’ll be a guest on Jack Cafferty’s “In the Money” on CNN on Sunday at 3 pm EST, 12 pm PST