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Just got an email from a friend who sent me a BBC link - seems there have been about 10 coordinated explosions in Baghdad, many of which appear to be car bombs in primarily Shia' areas of Baghdad.  Just a quick news update.  

Officials said at least 10 car and roadside bombs were detonated.

The incident comes after at least 52 people were killed in Baghdad on Sunday, as police stormed a church where they were being held hostage

These explosions come after months of political deadlock in Baghdad between the government of Prime Minister Maliki and his main rival Ayad Allawi.  Allawi is a former Ba'athist who, although he is Shia', has strong support in the Sunni community.  Maliki supposedly recently reached an accommodation with the Sadr Movement as well as the Kurdish political parties sufficient to form the next government.  Maliki has also been gradually withdrawing support for some of the "Awakening" militias, who had been (ruthlessly) controlling some of the more fundamentalist Sunni organizations often lumped together under the rubric "al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia".  

The car bomb campaign is most likely a response by these Sunni fundamentalist groups.  The concern is that some Sunni Awakening members may be turning a blind eye on bomb-makers due to anger at Maliki and the outcome of the election.

Ayad Allawi, who won the most seats, is short of a majority.  None of the Shia' political parties want to join him in coalition, and Allawi has not been able to attract any Kurdish support since the Kurds still see their biggest threat as Sunni nationalists and their biggest objective to maintain autonomy and not lose sections of Ninevah and Kirkuk provinces. This leaves the #1 vote earner unable to form a government - Kurds and Shia' together are a considerable majority in Iraq, and ethnicity plays a big role in coalition forming.  Probably Maliki will need to bring in someone from Allawi's group but it's a stalemate and the deep wound between Shia' and Sunni in Iraq remains unhealed.  A whole lot of violence by Sunni car bombers could spark some really vicious retribution, setting the process further back.

All of our staff are OK, including our very brave Baghdad staff.  

Update:  A suicide bomber was caught trying to enter Erbil, in the Kurdistan region.  Kurdish security is pretty good and they stop these sorts of plots from time to time.  No way of knowing if these two incidents are linked.

Also there's no way of knowing whether or not this is in any way linked to the US elections - my guess is probably not.

Originally posted to ivorybill on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 10:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank god (8+ / 0-)

    we brought Peace and Democracy to the people of Iraq even as we destroyed those stockpiles of Chemical and Biological Weapons.  Why wouldn't we be putting Republicans back in power?  

    Ugh.  Snark with a pit in the stomach.  So sorry for all the victims.  

    When it's Republicans stomping your head into the street, heck, that's as much your fault as theirs. That's just balanced.

    by Sun dog on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 10:43:33 AM PDT

  •  Allawi's coalition has to be included in the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, ivorybill, lineatus, briefer

    government. Dont see how they can leave out the group that won the most seats.

  •  WHY? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, ivorybill

    "Coming together is a beginning..keeping it together is a process..working together is a success."

    by secret38b on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 11:01:33 AM PDT

    •  That's an excellent question. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoxerDave, capelza, ivorybill

      Kinda wish it had been asked more often before we ever got involved with that clusterfuck.

      They only call it Class War when we fight back.

      by lineatus on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 11:04:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because "democracy" and western values (5+ / 0-)

      cannot be shoved down the throats of countries rich in resources that the western "democracies" covet and try to steal with their imperialistic power.

      Some people in those coveted countries have issues of their own that they will iron out in the most inconvenient ways that could interfere with the imperialistic objectives.

      ...go figure...

      Winning hearts and minds doesn't really work...too many bodies get destroyed in the process.

      by trinityfly on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 11:06:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because the Iraqi civil war (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      isn't over yet.  Power has to devolve to the largest and previously most disempowered citizen tier of the society- the average/poor Shi'ite Iraqis- before a legitimate democratic state can arise.

      Maliki (who is the Shi'ite plutocratic or aristocratic elite's man, specifically the Badr family's) and Allawi (representing Sunnis generally and the urban middle class privileged by Saddam Hussein) look fine to outsiders.  But by retaining power for these groups they are in fact resisting the necessary remaining portion(s) of the devolution process.  At the end of which lies Muhtadr al-Sadr as first legitimate head of state.

      For some reason the Beltway elites are unwilling to concede al-Sadr the rule of Iraq (which will be shorn of its Kurd portion).  Frankly, the only thing that needs to matter to Americans (and that for purposes of resolving the regional problem, which is power politically down to Iran vs Israel) is that al-Sadr not side with the current rulers of Iran in international affairs.  (And even if he did, it might not make any difference.)  Negotiating a deal with Sadr- rule of Iraq in return for not siding with Khamenei- would be to throw America's former buddies Allawi and Maliki to the dogs.  But in Maliki's case that's not a loss and in Allawi's...he's already had a turn in office and it's not the right time in Iraq's social evolution for another.

      In any case, when American troops leave next summer it will be round 3 of the Iraqi civil war unless the leadership question and devolution of power are solved correctly.  And if not, al-Sadr or some other popular Shiite leader has to emerge as the winner eventually after much more bloodshed than the minimum necessary.  

      Reporters in Kentucky invented a game called "White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo," checking off a box every time a Tea Partier mentions a black friend.

      by killjoy on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 01:22:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's about right... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        killjoy, lineatus

        The big push now is to resolve the power sharing arrangement and include some credible sunnis in government somehow... but everyone in Iraq plays a zero sum game, and one side getting some advantage is inevitably seen as the other side losing.  It will be a long road ahead.

        "Die Stimme der Vernuft ist leise." (The voice of reason is soft)

        by ivorybill on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 01:31:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  FUBAR.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    relentless, ivorybill, ratmach

    soon we'll hear the bullshit "well, al Qaeda is active in Iraq again".. and the pentagon will demand a new "surge".

    what a total Load this whole thing is.

    "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

    by Superpole on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 11:10:31 AM PDT

  •  Don't reduce the size of government.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wharton, ratmach

    ...just get us the hell out of foreign countries (ya know, the ones we invaded with our troops), and SLASH the military budget.  Slash it.  Take some of that money and put it into VA health benefits and other social programs.

    I'm still so sickened that the Bush administration created a crater out of Iraq. He and his lot are murderous bastards who unleashed other murderous bastards.

  •  Glad to know your staff is... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ivorybill, snackdoodle, ivorybill.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 12:38:41 PM PDT

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