The Textile Factory Is Not Times Square

Mark Memmott at NPR on May 10:

At least 75 people have died in attacks today in Iraq, the Associated Press reports, making it the nation’s “bloodiest day of the year so far.”

The most carnage occurred at a textile factory in Hillah. After two car bombs were set off and a crowd gathered to help victims, a suicide bomber walked into the scene and set off explosives strapped to his belt. At least 40 people died there and another 135 or so were wounded. Hillah is 60 miles south of Baghdad.

According to the BBC, more than 20 people were also killed “in a series of attacks which included drive by shootings and suicide bombings on police checkpoints and a market.”

From Baghdad, NPR’s Peter Kenyon reports that “the spike in violence is adding to the anxiety in Iraq as the U.S. military prepares to reduce its presence dramatically, and as Iraqi politicians struggle to form a new government in the wake of inconclusive elections back in March.”

Gregg Carlstrom at The Majlis:

There’s little to say about the violence, honestly. We’ve assembled a list of the attacks, and the casualty counts, after the jump. The scope is stunning: A dozen attacks on police and army checkpoints in Baghdad; coordinated car and suicide bombings in Hilla, Suweira and Fallujah; and other brazen attacks against security and political officials.

Iraq’s political class — distracted by the government formation process — hasn’t said much about the violence. Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki hasn’t released an official statement on the violence, and I haven’t seen him (or any other Iraqi officials) quoted in the Iraqi/Arabic press.

Ali al-Dabbagh, Maliki’s spokesman, did say tonight (عربي) that the attacks “have the hallmarks” of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Rebecca Santana and Lara Jakes at Huffington Post:

Al-Qaida is trying to … use some gaps created by some political problems,” Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman for Baghdad’s security operations center, told Arabiya TV. “There are well-known agendas for the terrorist groups operating in Iraq. Some of these groups are supported regionally and internationally with the aim of influencing the political and democratic process inside Iraq.”

More than two months after the March 7 election, Iraq’s main political factions are still struggling to put together a ruling coalition. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shiite bloc has tried to squeeze out election front-runner Ayad Allawi – a secular Shiite who was heavily backed by Sunnis – by forging an alliance last week with another religious Shiite coalition. The union, which is just four seats short of a majority in parliament, will likely lead to four more years of a government dominated by Shiites, much like the current one.

Sunni anger at Shiite domination of successive governments was a key reason behind the insurgency that sparked sectarian warfare in 2006 and 2007. If Allawi is perceived as not getting his fair share of power, that could in turn outrage the Sunnis who supported him and risk a resurgence of sectarian violence.

The relentless cascade of bombings and shootings – hitting at least 10 cities and towns as the day unfolded – also raised questions about whether Iraqi security forces can protect the country as the U.S. prepares to withdraw half of its remaining 92,000 troops in Iraq over the next four months.

Atrios:

Meanwhile

Over there.

BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a textile factory Monday in a crowd that gathered after two car bombings at the same spot in the worst of a series of attacks that killed at least 84 people across Iraq, the deadliest day this year.

Locally, some guy failed to set gasoline on fire.

Minstrel Boy:

its interesting to compare the murdering competence of these Iraqis against the clown that hit us in Times Square. What Iraq experienced today is about equal to the OKC bombing. I’m not sure America could handle a wave of these. We’ve come to expect some sort of exemption from the world’s violence

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