Twin Bombings Kill 21 Yazidis; Al-Maliki Seeking ‘Nationalist’ Coalition

Two suicide bombers hit a cafe in the Yazidi town of Sinjar, Iraq, on Thursday, killing at least 21 persons and wounded many more. The Yazidis are a religious group among the Kurds who are considered heretics by hard line Muslims, since their religion mixes old pre-Islamic Iranian motifs with Sufi mystical terminology. This operation is very similar to the attack on the Kurdish Shabak people, who follow a form of folk Shiism, on Monday morning. Both attacks targeted non-Sunni Kurds living in the orbit of the major northern city of Mosul, which is predominantly Sunni Arab. My guess is that some terrorist cells in Mosul are attempting to scare the Kurds in Ninevah into emigrating from the province, leaving it mainly in the hands of Sunni Arabs. I don’t know if the Shabak and the Yazidis were targeted because of their departures from Sunni orthodoxy or just because they are Kurds and near to the guerrillas. The Kurdistan Regional Government has made noises about attempting to absorb Ninevah Province (where Mosul is) or at least the heavily Kurdish parts of it, a project that the Sunni Arabs are die-hard against. One way to make sure that the Kurds do not detach part of Ninevah and absorb it into their provincial confederacy would be to arrange for most of the Kurds to be chased from the province.

Meanwhile, al-Hayat reports in Arabic, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is attending the 15th annual congress of the Islamic Mission Party (Da’wa), which he heads. He said that his party is seeking “nationalist” partners to form a coalition for the January, 2010, elections, since the country risks being torn apart by religious divisions. Although Da’wa is a religious Shiite party, it is increasingly uncomfortable with its former partners, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (very close to the ayatollahs in Iran) and the puritanical and sometimes violent Sadr Movement.

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