Baghdad begs for new dictatorship
Somebody has to take charge
Inevitably, Iraq people will have to come to grips with themselves. Look at the picture and observe the massive destruction to buildings and infrastructure and then add 63 dead people. How many times will this be repeated before Iraq people get sufficiently fed up to deal with the problem? My guess is, they are so fragmented that violence will continue until another dictator emerges to knock some sense into their uncivil heads.
Maybe some people in parts of the world have fallen so far behind that only their depleting population will solve the problem.
“Baghdad explosions kill at least 63 in first major violence since U.S. departure
By Dan Morse and Aziz Alwan, Updated: Thursday, December 22, 10:09 AM
BAGHDAD — More than a dozen explosions in Baghdad on Thursday killed at least 63 people — the first major violence in Iraq since the U.S. completed its troop pullout.
At least 194 people were reported injured in the two-hour spate of bombings, said officials at the Ministry of Interior, who were speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
A wave of bombings ripped across Baghdad on Thursday morning, killing at least 57 people and injuring nearly 200 in the worst violence Iraq has seen for months. The bloodbath comes just days after American forces left the country. (Dec. 22)
The violence comes just days after the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq, and in the midst of an ongoing governmental emergency in which sectarian rifts and ethnic tension threaten to rip apart the country’s fragile ruling coalition.
No group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were similar to previous ones carried out by Al Qaeda in Iraq. Officials speculated that the group is taking advantage of the ongoing political fight between Shiites and Sunnis to try to sow greater dissent in the country.
“The criminals and those who are stand behind them will not … escape from punishment,” Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in a statement. “I call upon all the religious men, the patriot powers, and the tribes to support the security agencies in these very difficult circumstances.”
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad strongly condemned the attacks, saying “it is especially important during this critical period that Iraq’s political leaders work to resolve differences peacefully, through dialogue, and in accordance with Iraq’s constitution and laws.”
“Senseless acts of violence tear at the fabric of Iraqi unity and do not in any way help the people of Iraq or any of its communities,” the embassy statement said.
On Monday, Maliki’s Shiite-controlled government shocked U.S. officials and other observers by announcing that an arrest warrant had been issued for vice president Tariq al-Hashimi, a leading Sunni politician.
The warrant charges that Hashimi enlisted personal body guards to run a hit squad. The allegations threw Iraq’s political leadership into turmoil, and sent Hashimi — who denies the charges — fleeing to Iraq’s semiautonomous region of Kurdistan.
Maliki demanded Wednesday that Kurdish officials return Hashimi to Baghdad to face prosecution. He also threatened to purge his government of lawmakers who refuse to work with him, and to release incriminating information about government officials unless they commit to ending violence and rebuilding Iraq.
A concerned Vice President Biden spoke with Maliki on Tuesday night, emphasizing that “whatever the facts actually were, the Iraqis were creating a perception problem that would not advance their interests,” said Antony J. Blinken, Biden’s chief foreign policy adviser. At the same time, the Obama administration is publicly describing the political upheaval as part of the usual rough and tumble of Iraqi politics.
“This kind of political turmoil has been occurring in Iraq periodically, as they have taken steps forward and, occasionally, steps backwards,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Iskander Witwit, a ranking member of the Parliament’s security and defense committee, said Thursday’s explosions in some ways were “expected, because of the absence of the political accord. . .the insurgents of course are taking advantage of this.”
“What had happened today was intended to give Iraqi people an idea that the security forces aren’t able to handle security simultaneously with the U.S. withdrawal from the country,” Witwit said in an interview.
He said Iraqi security forces need to beef up nighttime operations and increase sudden, temporary checkpoints in addition to the permanent checkpoints already established throughout Baghdad. “Everybody has been aware that the terrorists are using the nights … to plant explosive charges.”
The coordinated wave of attacks began about 6:30 a.m. local time Thursday (10:30 p.m. Wednesday in Washington) and included at least five booby-trapped cars, two operated by suicide drivers. Police were able to diffuse or safely detonate an additional three booby-trapped cars, officials said. Additionally, a Katyusha rocket was fired into a western Baghdad neighborhood, killing one person and injuring another.
Qassim Atta, a spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command, told the government-run Iraqia television station that the explosions targeted civilians randomly, and not specific establishments.
Witnesses said that all main roads and many government offices in the Iraqi capital remained closed for hours after the explosions.
Babil province, about 80 miles south of the capital, imposed a curfew after receiving intelligence information that explosive-laden cars had entered the area, according to an Iraqia report.
But by 2 p.m., traffic was once again clogging main roads in central Baghdad, and life returned at least partially to normal. Street vendors sold food. Women boarded buses. Pedestrians, including men in suits and carrying briefcases, walked down sidewalks.
In response to the attacks, speaker of parliament Ussama Alnujafi called on leaders of the government’s political blocs to gather Friday to discuss security concerns, said Tami Ahmed Ma’aruf, a spokesman for the speaker.”