mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Ahead of Elections, Iraq Bathed in Blood

As the day dawns on Boston after yesterday’s barbaric, tragic bombing, Iraq too is recovering from a particularly bloody day. The New York Times has the story:

In the latest surge of violence, more than 20 attacks around the country on Monday killed close to 50 people and wounded nearly 200. Two schools in Hilla that were to serve as polling sites were blown up by homemade bombs; no one was killed, but the explosions suggested that insurgents might be intent on attacking voters and not just candidates. Security officials in Hilla quickly declared a state of emergency, and said they had intelligence that militants were preparing to target more polling stations in the region.

So far, at least 15 Sunni candidates have been assassinated in the run-up to the first elections since 2003 to be run without security assistance from America. Some of the violence is said to be due to political rivalries, but much of it has been attributed to al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which has historically opposed Sunnis participating in the central government.

The article makes no mention of the sectarian bloodbath going on next door in Syria, but it’s hard to conclude that Iraq’s election eve sectarian violence isn’t somehow connected to it. We’ve written posts like this before, but it’s still worth repeating: the costs of not having a coherent policy in Syria has real consequences for American interests across the Middle East.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Lorenz Gude

    Amen. There were some real gains in Iraq after the surge, but it looks like they are slipping back into civil war between Sunnis and Shiites exacerbated by an AQ in Mesopotamia resurgence.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service