Aug 31 2011

What’s Behind Iraq’s Latest Violence?

Feature Stories | Published 31 Aug 2011, 10:09 am | Comments Off on What’s Behind Iraq’s Latest Violence? -

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A suicide bomb in a Sunni mosque in Baghdad earlier this week killed 28 people, including a member of Iraq’s parliament. The violence follows a series of attacks over the weekend in various Iraqi cities including the capital Baghdad, and Basra, and Falluja, which led to 13 deaths. In mid-August, 70 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in a series of bomb blasts, including suicide and car bombs, and shootings seemingly coordinated across the country. Iraqis are worried about setting off a chain of violence similar to what happened in 2006 when the Shiite Golden Mosque in Samarra was bombed, eventually culminating in internecine warfare that left thousands dead. Politically Iraq is struggling to stabilize, with decisions being postponed for a year and a half over cabinet positions after the last elections. Iraq’s oil wealth is paying off, but high levels of corruption and government disarray have undermined it. The violence on the streets, and the political deadlock comes just months before US forces are due to withdraw from Iraq. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has made it clear that he hopes the Iraqi government will extend that deadline. The Associated Press, which keeps a count of the numbers of troop fatalities in Iraq, reported that as of August 30th 2011, at least 4,474 members of the US military had died in the Iraq war. With the tenth anniversary of the September 11th 2001 attacks approaching, there is increasing retrospection over the post-9-11 decision of the Bush administration to launch the war in 2003. Despite the blunders and outright lies over weapons caches and Iraqi links with Al Qaeda, and despite the chaos that continues to plague Iraq, former Vice President Dick Cheney, during an NBC interview about his new book, defended the US war. He called it “sound policy,” and added, “I don’t think that it damaged our reputation around the world.” Meanwhile, a Senate-appointed Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan has found that private contractors and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in $30 billion of wasted tax dollars over the past ten years.

GUEST: Raed Jarrar, Iraqi-American blogger and political analyst based in Washington, D.C.

Read Raed Jarrar’s blog at raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com.

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