A wave of deadly bombings and other attacks swept Baghdad on Sunday, killing nearly three dozen persons and wounding over 100.
The attacks on Shiite neighborhoods were likely intended to remind the Iraqi public on the eve of Eid al-Fitr (the celebration of the end of the fasting month of Ramadan) that the Sunni guerrilla movement is still active and has not been defeated.
The situation in Iraq is dire, and the discourse about Iraq in the presidential campaign is often disconnected from reality. McCain is asserting that “victory” is at hand and rewriting his own history of support for Bush’s invasion and policies there. Now the McCain people are trying to claim that McCain called for the resignation of former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, which he certainly did not.
And, the McCain call for “victory,” meaning an Iraq that can police its own borders, begs the question of what those borders even are. (“Kurdistan” is not a settled place). See below.
The attacks come days after the Iraqi parliament finally approved enabling legislation for provincial elections. The parliamentarians agreed to postpone elections in the disputed oil province of Kirkuk.
I have long been a proponent of early provincial elections. The Sunni Arab provinces have never had proper elections since the January 2005 polls were boycotted because Bush leveled Fallujah. The elections could create a new post-Baath political elite in the Sunni Arab provinces that has legitimacy and actually represents big constituencies. Some of the trouble in Diyala comes from minority Shiite dominance of a majority Sunni province. If the al-Maliki government wants to find a Sunni negotiating partner (which is still unclear), the provincial leaders to be elected next winter could fit the bill. Some of them will go on to national political careers. A lot of Sunnis are still secular, and could begin the process of moving away from religious fundamentalist parties always dominating.
The likely emergence of significant political rivals among the Sunnis would cause the fundamentalist vigilantes to redouble their efforts to destabilize Iraq further.
On the other hand,that parliament had to postpone elections in Kirkuk is a very bad sign, as is the military and paramilitary conflict between Arabs and Kurds.
Kurds are reversing Saddam’s ethnic cleansing drive of earlier decades, returning and expelling Arabs. Not all Kurds going to such regions are returnees, and not all the Arabs being forced out are internal migrants.
Iraqi police and Kurdish paramilitary members seem to have had a shoot-out in Jalaula on Sunday that left a Kurdish politician dead.
In nearby Sa’adiya, a Kurdish mayor was wounded in a bombing.
McClatchy reports details of political violence in Iraq on Sunday:
– Around 8 a.m. a roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army vehicle in Mansour neighborhood, killing one soldier and injuring two soldiers and a civilian.
– Around 1 p.m. American soldiers searched an empty house in Zayuna neighborhood and shot randomly, injuring two civilians in the area, Iraqi police said. U.S. military said they had no information about the incident.
– Around 5:30 p.m. a parked car bomb exploded in a busy market in Shurta Rabaa neighborhood, southwest Baghdad, killing 12 civilians and injuring 35 others.
– Around 5:30 p.m. a bomb planted in a car exploded on a main road near Al Bayaa neighborhood, killing one and injuring one.
– Around 7 p.m. a parked car bomb exploded in the busy market area of Karrada neighborhood in central Baghdad, followed by a roadside bomb that killed 19 civilians and injured 72 others.
– Police found two dead bodies throughout Baghdad, one near Al Rasheed Camp and one in Hurriyah.
– Around 9 a.m. a roadside bomb targeted Ahmed Samir Zargush, the mayor of Al Saidiyah town, about 50 miles east of Baquba. Zargush was injured along with three of his bodyguards and two civilians.
– Gunmen killed one citizen, a Christian, in Al Baladiyat neighborhood and in another incident gunmen killed a man and injured his brother in Mosul.’