Attacks in Iraq’s Diyala province kill up to 14 people

An estimated 14 people were killed and 18 injured in two explosions and a shooting in the mainly Sunni village of Abu Garma, which is located in the volatile Iraqi province of Diyala. According to an Iraqi interior ministry official, a suicide car bomb exploded outside a busy cafe late Thursday, followed closely by a ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

An estimated 14 people were killed and 18 injured in two explosions and a shooting in the mainly Sunni village of Abu Garma, which is located in the volatile Iraqi province of Diyala. According to an Iraqi interior ministry official, a suicide car bomb exploded outside a busy cafe late Thursday, followed closely by a second bombing minutes afterward, killing up to 10 people. Shortly after the bombings, a woman and her three children were attacked and killed by a gunman. The attacks may have been sectarian in nature, as according to Lieutenant-Colonel Ahmed al-Karkhi, "Most of those killed in the two attacks were Shia, and the family killed was Sunni."

Syria

An estimated 14 people were killed and 18 injured in two explosions and a shooting in the mainly Sunni village of Abu Garma, which is located in the volatile Iraqi province of Diyala. According to an Iraqi interior ministry official, a suicide car bomb exploded outside a busy cafe late Thursday, followed closely by a second bombing minutes afterward, killing up to 10 people. Shortly after the bombings, a woman and her three children were attacked and killed by a gunman. The attacks may have been sectarian in nature, as according to Lieutenant-Colonel Ahmed al-Karkhi, "Most of those killed in the two attacks were Shia, and the family killed was Sunni."

Syria

Escalation of violence in Syria has prompted the opposition to demand stronger international action. Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said the Syrian government is "in contravention" of the negotiated peace plan. The remarks came a day after activists reported that an explosion in Hama killed up to 70 people. The Syrian government conversely stated the blast was caused by armed terrorists in a bomb factory resulting in the deaths of 16 people. The Syrian regime and opposition traded blame for the explosion as well as the continued violence, which has defied the six-point peace plan brokered by U.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan. There were two additional explosions reported in the capital of Damascus on Friday and clashes continued in the suburb of Douma. There are currently 15 monitors on the ground from the United Nations’ observer mission which is set to expand to 300. However, the Security Council is considering tougher actions. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, is proposing increased sanctions, and France is calling for a U.N. Chapter 7 resolution which would allow for the use of force if there hasn’t been a noticeable commitment to the peace plan by May 5.

Headlines  

  • Libya’s National Transitional Council dismissed Prime Minister Abdul Rahim al-Keib and the cabinet for incompetence, bringing into question elections scheduled for June.
  • Fayez al-Tarawneh will be Jordan’s new prime minister after Awn Khasawneh’s surprising resignation. The latter was the third person holding the office to step down in the past 18 months.
  • The Palestinian Authority Communications Minister, Mashour Abu Daqa, has resigned over suppression of opposition media and recent arrests of journalists and activists.
  • Al Qaeda linked militants blew up an oil pipeline in the eastern Yemeni province of Shabwa in retaliation for the killing of an al Qaeda leader in the third such attack in a month.

Arguments & Analysis 

‘Bread, Dignity, and Social Justice:’ The Political Economy of Egypt’s Transition’ (Jane Kinninmont, Chatham House)

"There remains a concern among many observers that persistent failure to address the economic aspects of popular demands could ultimately lead to a second, angrier and hungrier revolution. Predictably, the uncertainty created by the ongoing political transition has deterred investment and depressed growth. GDP rose by just 0.2% year-on-year in July-September 2011, and the official rate of unemployment was 11.9%, up from 9.0% in 2010. The official figure is usually assumed to be an underestimate; anyone who works one hour per week is officially counted as employed. Yet there will be significant opportunities to strengthen the Egyptian economy if the political transition achieves a more accountable system of government with greater transparency and less corruption. Indeed, under an optimistic scenario, if there were greater investment in the human capital of the broad mass of the country’s population, and a return of educated diaspora Egyptians, growth rates could increase significantly in the longer term. Reflecting this perception of opportunity, very few companies have so far withdrawn their investments from Egypt as a result of the political transition."

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way’ (Lara Friedman, Open Zion)

"Like the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the biggest obstacle to reaching an agreement to address Iran’s nuclear program is the absence of the necessary political will and leadership to overcome these reckless forces of opposition. There are three additional parallels between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iran crisis. First, the status quo in both cases is quite obviously unstable, untenable, and dangerous.  Second, failure in either case to achieve a negotiated solution, or at least serious progress toward one, will guarantee that things get worse. In the Israeli-Palestinian context, we are facing the imminent loss of the two-state solution, which will usher in more conflict and insecurity.  In the Iran context, we are facing the threat of imminent war-a war that won’t resolve the nuclear issue and will have catastrophic consequences. And third, those people who oppose a viable negotiated agreement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are, for the most part-and perhaps unsurprisingly-the same people who oppose such an agreement to the Iran crisis.  This is true with respect to opponents in Iran, the West Bank, and Gaza, but it is most glaringly true with respect to Israel, where Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to be equally committed to avoiding an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and undermining efforts to achieve a diplomatic compromise with Iran; and the United States, where the same groups, most notably AIPAC, lead efforts to shape U.S. policy on both Israel-Palestine and Iran."  

— by Jennifer Parker 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

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