Thursday, December 22, 2011

A horrible day in Baghdad

The Associated Press examines the deadly consequences to a series of bombings in Baghdad.
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.
As an illustration of the tension between the Shiite and Sunni communities, consider what the New York Times wrote just two days ago.
As Iraq’s Sunni vice president on Tuesday angrily rebutted the government’s accusations that he had been running death squads, many people in Iraq’s Sunni minority dismissed the charges as politically motivated, underscoring how deeply alienated they have become from the Shiite-led government. 
Coming just a day after the United States military withdrew from Iraq, the government’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for the vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, raised alarms in Washington and other capitals. But for average Sunnis here, it was just another in a series of moves to marginalize them.
“All the Sunnis feel neglected now,” said Kais al-Obaidi, an accountant at a shawarma restaurant in the Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiya. “We feel we are the second level of people now.”
And, yes, today's bombings and the angry verbal exchanges between Shiite and Sunni leaders casts serious doubt on any claims by the Obama administration that Iraq is stable, albeit fragile. Reuters takes a look at recent events that have increased the anger within the Sunni community

I'll ask the question (because you know politicians of all stripes in the U.S. are going to) -- should the Obama administration have pulled all U.S. forces from Iraq?

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