50 Dead in Baghdad Attacks on Shiites;
Netanyahu Warns of Eastern Front

A series of bloody attacks killed some 50 persons across Baghdad in the midst of a massive Shiite pilgrimage to the shrine of Imam Musa Kazem A suicide bombing that targeted the pilgrims passing through the Sunni Arab district of Adhamiya on their way to Kazimiya killed 32 and wounded over 90. Sunni guerrillas launched scattered attacks on pilgrims in other neighborhoods, as well, bringing up the death toll. In Adhamiya, some Sunni Arabs pitched in to help the Shiite victims.

The instability comes as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his concerns to US Secretary of Defense Bob Gates about Iraq becoming part of an anti-Israel “Eastern Front” when the US withdraws from that country. Netanyahu also pressed Obama on practical measures that can be taken to ensure that a future Palestinian state is genuinely demilitarized (apparently the fear is that Iraq will help smuggle arms into the West Bank.)

The pilgrimage honors the death of the seventh Imam or divinely appointed leader and descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. Twelver Shiite Islam honors twelve early Imams or successors to the Prophet, eleven of them his direct descendants. Hundreds of thousands of Shiites converged on the Kazimiya neighborhood where his shrine is located, some coming up from the south of the country.

Around the shrine, Iraqi police enforced a vehicle ban, to stop car bombings, which was successful. They also closed off some streets.

But experience has shown that it is very difficult to stop individual suicide bombers wearing belt bombs who target crowds. Al-Muhit in Arabic alleges that mortar shells were also fired into the crowds.

The attacks are likely to be interpreted as yet another sign that the country’s inability to form a government is creating a vacuum into which violent guerrilla cells are stepping.

Posted in Iraq | 6 Responses | Print |

6 Responses

  1. We need to stop accepting the Israeli claim that Palestine must be demilitarized as legitimate. A demilitarized Palestine is not sovereign, and everyone knows that. It’s nothing more than legalized apartheid. A UN peacekeeping force as a buffer could be an option. But a demilitarized Palestine is not.

  2. We all become aggravated when seemingly evident good sense and better ideas are ignored; we just cannot get it how these guys keep on being able to sell their tripe to the US and its people. There is a natural indignation when a loose collection of powerful entities, with seemingly organic cohesion, are able to orchestrate policies that when looked at closely are against the long-term interests of Israel as well as the US.

    Where does this consistency come through, when there is not some conspiracy? I suspect it comes from an implicit understanding that Israel is the 51rst State. When anyone starts off with that perspective, all the potential moves and counter-moves to build and maintain a compelling narrative of our relationship along those lines come into harmony.

    Just an observation. Maybe I’m off, but I’ve always thought the first step in getting past/resolving any problem is to recognize and accept the reality of things. The best way to treat the corruption now infecting better policy decisions in the US as well as Israel is with sunlight.

  3. My god. What a mess we have left by Bush. Such a horrific waste of lives. It appears that a civil war might ensue and the success of the surge was a short-lived phantasm. I thought the “success” of Iraq was to be the “model” for Kabul.

  4. Dr. Cole

    Would you please explain to the american voter what you mean when you say that Iraq has not formed a government yet. There are many americans that think once an election has been held and the votes counted that a government is automagically formed. If they understood more clearly just what a failure this war for democracy has been then perhaps this disasterous occupation will be brought to an end sooner.

  5. The Israeli government always has another war for America to fight. The problem is this terrible Israeli government.

  6. David. Not sure if you noticed, but the level of violence in Iraq has remained fairly constant for the past two years with just under 3000 civilians killed per year, down drastically from pre-surge levels, while the number of American troops in Iraq has fallen to about 80,000 since the surge. From the data, it looks like the surge was successful, despite all the dire predictions.

    Daniel. Will Iraq be a failure for democracy after the new government is formed?

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