A wave of deadly explosions across Iraq target Shiite districts

A wave of deadly explosions across Iraq target Shiite districts A series of four explosions in Iraq in mainly Shiite neighborhoods killed more than 50 people and injured over 100. The attacks began around 7:30 am in Baghdad, during the city’s rush hour. The first bomb was strapped to a motorcycle and was detonated near ...

A wave of deadly explosions across Iraq target Shiite districts

A wave of deadly explosions across Iraq target Shiite districts

A series of four explosions in Iraq in mainly Shiite neighborhoods killed more than 50 people and injured over 100. The attacks began around 7:30 am in Baghdad, during the city’s rush hour. The first bomb was strapped to a motorcycle and was detonated near a group of day laborers in Sadr City. Quickly following, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) exploded near rescuers attending to the victims. Around 9:00 am, two car bombs exploded simultaneously in the northern neighborhood of Kadhimiya. Just hours later, in Qusay al-Abadi, in southern Iraq, a suicide bomber targeted Shiite pilgrims at a police checkpoint killing an estimated 36 people and injuring at least 72. The bombings have come a day after attacks on the homes of security forces killed four people, including two children in Baqouba and Abu Ghraib, cities outside of Baghdad. Recent attacks have raised concerns about Iraq’s security and vulnerability to increased sectarian violence after the withdrawal of U.S. troops. According to Tariq Annad, who works for the Iraqi government, “People have real fears that the cycle of violence might be revived in this country.” These fears were previously escalated after Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued an arrest warrant in December for Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi. As a result of that move, the Sunni al-Iraqiya bloc has boycotted parliament and cabinet meetings in protest.

Headlines  

  • Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who resigned in 2009, has been indicted for new corruption charges for a real estate scandal, one of the largest in Israeli history.
  • After admitting mistakes, the Arab League has gone to the U.N. for assistance on Syria. Meanwhile, the Assad regime released 552 prisoners detained during the crackdown.
  • European Union officials have begun working to establish a unified agreement for an Iranian oil embargo aiming to diminish funding for Iran’s nuclear development program.
  • The prosecution in the trial of Hosni Mubarak has accused Egypt’s deposed leader of being “politically and legally” responsible for killing more than 800 people and instigating violence.

Daily Snapshot

 

Gaza’s Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya (C) waves nest to Tunisian Prime minister Hamadi Jebali (R) upon his arrivals on January 5, 2012 in Tunis. Haniya arrived in Tunis today on the next leg of a six-country tour to a welcome from Tunisia’s new leaders and a crowd of some 2,000 people. It is his first trip abroad since Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007, and according to his office is aimed at raising funds to rebuild Gaza City, devastated by an Israeli offensive three years ago (FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images). 

Arguments & Analysis 

‘Egypt: the mayhem’ (Yasmine El-Rashidi, New York Review of Books)

“In such a volatile environment, and with the revolution itself pulled in different directions by different groups, what seems most important is not how many people actually turn up in Tahrir, but rather, the heroes and leaders-until now sorely lacking-those protests might yet create. In the meantime, many of us are left wondering how many more of the roads leading to Tahrir will be barricaded and blocked in the three weeks remaining until the January 25 anniversary of our revolution.”

‘Iran’s growing state of desperation’ (Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post)

“The Obama administration seems to have concluded that the Iranian regime is not ready or able to make a strategic reconciliation with the West. The regime is too divided and Khamenei, the ultimate authority, too ideologically rigid. So for now, Washington wants to build the pressure on Iran, in the hopes that it will force the regime into serious negotiations at some point. This strategy is understandable. But it also risks building up pressures that could take a course of their own — with explosive consequences.”

‘Egypt’s rulers are threatening the gains of Tahrir Square’ (Moez Masoud & Matthew Ingalls, New York Times)

“Among the protesters are wealthy Egyptians and the dispossessed, liberals and Islamists. They are overwhelmingly young, but if you look closely, you can find some with gray hair. And if their detractors are correct in saying that they cannot be reasoned with, it is only because the protesters rarely speak with one voice and they refuse to listen like children to the patronizing echo of the old establishment. If any one spirit unites them, it is a justifiable anger about the establishment’s mind-set.”  

— Tom Kutsch and Mary Casey

    <p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

    More from Foreign Policy

    Newspapers in Tehran feature on their front page news about the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, signed in Beijing the previous day, on March, 11 2023.
    Newspapers in Tehran feature on their front page news about the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, signed in Beijing the previous day, on March, 11 2023.

    Saudi-Iranian Détente Is a Wake-Up Call for America

    The peace plan is a big deal—and it’s no accident that China brokered it.

    Austin and Gallant stand at podiums side by side next to each others' national flags.
    Austin and Gallant stand at podiums side by side next to each others' national flags.

    The U.S.-Israel Relationship No Longer Makes Sense

    If Israel and its supporters want the country to continue receiving U.S. largesse, they will need to come up with a new narrative.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Moscow Kremlin Wall in the Alexander Garden during an event marking Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Moscow Kremlin Wall in the Alexander Garden during an event marking Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow.

    Putin Is Trapped in the Sunk-Cost Fallacy of War

    Moscow is grasping for meaning in a meaningless invasion.

    An Iranian man holds a newspaper reporting the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, in Tehran on March 11.
    An Iranian man holds a newspaper reporting the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, in Tehran on March 11.

    How China’s Saudi-Iran Deal Can Serve U.S. Interests

    And why there’s less to Beijing’s diplomatic breakthrough than meets the eye.