Just days ago I wrote in Human Events: “Nothing appears likelier in Iraq’s future than more jihadist persecution of Christians and other religious minorities, more Sunni-Shi”ite jihad, and more jockeying for power by Iran as it continues its jihad to become the leader of the Islamic world.”
Meanwhile, Iyad Allawi apparently expected that the Americans would stay in Iraq indefinitely, cleaning up all the messes of sectarian and ethnic strife and political jockeying. But Sunni/Shi’ite and Arab/Kurd enmity are a lot older than the United States, and would never have been eradicated by the U.S., even if we stayed there 1000 years.
“Wave of bombings across Baghdad kills 60,” by Qassim Abdul-Zahra for the Associated Press, December 22 (thanks to all who sent this in):
BAGHDAD (AP) “” A wave of at least 14 bombings ripped across Baghdad Thursday morning, killing at least 60 people in the worst violence in Iraq for months. The apparently coordinated attacks struck days after the last American forces left the country and in the midst of a major government crisis between Shiite and Sunni politicians that has sent sectarian tensions soaring.
The bombings may be linked more to the U.S. withdrawal than the political crisis, but all together, the developments heighten fears of a new round of Shiite-Sunni sectarian bloodshed like the one a few years back that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the bombings bore all the hallmarks of al Qaeda’s Sunni insurgents. Most appeared to hit Shiite neighborhoods, although some Sunni areas were also targeted. In all, 11 neighborhoods were hit by either car bombs, roadside blasts or sticky bombs attached to cars. There was at least one suicide bombing and the blasts went off over several hours.
The deadliest attack was in the Karrada neighborhood, where a suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden vehicle blew himself up outside the office of a government agency fighting corruption. Two police officers at the scene said the bomber was driving an ambulance and told guards that he needed to get to a nearby hospital. After the guards let him through, he drove to the building where he blew himself up, the officers said….
Because such a large-scale, coordinated attack likely took weeks to plan, and the political crisis erupted only few days ago, the violence was not likely a direct response to the tensions within the government. Also, al Qaeda opposed Sunni cooperation in the Shiite-dominated government in the first place and is not aligned with Sunni politicians.
The Sunni extremist group often attacks Shiites, who they believe are not true Muslims….
A leading Iraqi politician has accused the country’s prime minister of acting like Saddam Hussein in trying to silence opposition, saying he risks provoking a new fightback against dictatorship.
Iyad Allawi — a former prime minister who leads the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc — also claimed the United States had pulled out its troops “without completing the job they should have finished.”
Allawi said that the current premier, Nuri al-Maliki, had used fabricated confessions to demand the arrest of the country’s Sunni Muslim vice president, Tareq al-Hashemi.
Al-Hashemi, who has taken refuge in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, denies allegations he ordered bombings and shootings against his opponents. The move against him, on the very day U.S. troops left the country, threatens to upset a balance among Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions.
Speaking to Reuters two days after the final departure of the U.S. forces that ended Saddam’s Sunni-dominated rule, Allawi called for international efforts to prevent al-Maliki, who is a Shiite, from provoking renewed sectarian warfare of the kind that killed tens of thousands in the years after Saddam fell in 2003.
“This is terrifying, to bring fabricated confessions,” Allawi said shortly before leaving the Jordanian capital Amman to return to Iraq. “It reminds me personally of what Saddam Hussein used to do where he would accuse his political opponents of being terrorists and conspirators.”…
He said he would now try to unseat the prime minister in the legislature: “We have to make a move to bring about stability to the country by trying to find a substitute to Maliki through parliament,” said Allawi, who repeated allegations that Shiite Iran is seeking control in Iraq now that U.S. forces have left….