Suicide car bomber targets Baghdad government offices

A suicide car bomber targeted government offices in the Iraqi capitol of Baghdad at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, killing up to 23 people, and injuring more than 100. The explosion blew up the facade of Iraq’s main religious affairs office for Shiite Muslims, Shia Waqf, and damaged nearby cars and buildings. The attack came after ...

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

A suicide car bomber targeted government offices in the Iraqi capitol of Baghdad at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, killing up to 23 people, and injuring more than 100. The explosion blew up the facade of Iraq's main religious affairs office for Shiite Muslims, Shia Waqf, and damaged nearby cars and buildings. The attack came after a series of deadly bombings last week and amid a dispute over claims between Shiites and Sunnis over a religious shrine north of Baghdad.

Syria

In a televised speech, President Bashar al-Assad spoke for the first time since January, blaming Syria's conflict on foreign entities and denying responsibility for the recent Houla massacre. In reference to the killings of 108 people including 49 children two week ago, Assad said to the new parliament, "even monsters couldn't perpetrate what we have seen." He claimed the atrocity was the work of foreign-backed terrorists, and maintained that Syria is under assault from the international community because of its tradition of "resistance" against Israel and the West. Conversely, after an investigation, the United Nations found shabiha, government sponsored militiamen, responsible for the attacks. Meanwhile, violence spread to the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, where two days of sectarian clashes resulted in the deaths of 14 people and the wounding of more than 50. European Union representatives are meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, for the 29th Russia-EU summit starting Monday, where European leaders are expected to put pressure on Russia into agreeing on a tougher stance on the Syrian regime. 

A suicide car bomber targeted government offices in the Iraqi capitol of Baghdad at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, killing up to 23 people, and injuring more than 100. The explosion blew up the facade of Iraq’s main religious affairs office for Shiite Muslims, Shia Waqf, and damaged nearby cars and buildings. The attack came after a series of deadly bombings last week and amid a dispute over claims between Shiites and Sunnis over a religious shrine north of Baghdad.

Syria

In a televised speech, President Bashar al-Assad spoke for the first time since January, blaming Syria’s conflict on foreign entities and denying responsibility for the recent Houla massacre. In reference to the killings of 108 people including 49 children two week ago, Assad said to the new parliament, "even monsters couldn’t perpetrate what we have seen." He claimed the atrocity was the work of foreign-backed terrorists, and maintained that Syria is under assault from the international community because of its tradition of "resistance" against Israel and the West. Conversely, after an investigation, the United Nations found shabiha, government sponsored militiamen, responsible for the attacks. Meanwhile, violence spread to the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, where two days of sectarian clashes resulted in the deaths of 14 people and the wounding of more than 50. European Union representatives are meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, for the 29th Russia-EU summit starting Monday, where European leaders are expected to put pressure on Russia into agreeing on a tougher stance on the Syrian regime. 

Headlines  

  • The United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Association has announced it will hold another round of talks with Iran on June 8 on its nuclear development program.
  • Egyptians have continued protests in Tahrir Square after a court released a verdict on the trial of Hosni Mubarak, expressing concerns that the old regime still maintains power.

Arguments & Analysis

‘Syrian intervention risks upsetting global order’ (Henry Kissinger, The Washington Post)

"The diplomacy generated by the Arab Spring replaces Westphalian principles of equilibrium with a generalized doctrine of humanitarian intervention…This form of humanitarian intervention distinguishes itself from traditional foreign policy by eschewing appeals to national interest or balance of power – rejected as lacking a moral dimension. It justifies itself not by overcoming a strategic threat but by removing conditions deemed a violation of universal principles of governance. If adopted as a principle of foreign policy, this form of intervention raises broader questions for U.S. strategy. Does America consider itself obliged to support every popular uprising against any non-democratic government, including those heretofore considered important in sustaining the international system? Is, for example, Saudi Arabia an ally only until public demonstrations develop on its territory? Are we prepared to concede to other states the right to intervene elsewhere on behalf of coreligionists or ethnic kin?"

Ending the US War in Yemen‘ (Tom Hayden, The Nation)

"In summary, no one really knows if the Pentagon and CIA can suppress both terrorism and civil war while the National Security Council promotes a three-step "Yemen Strategic Plan" of crushing Al Qaeda, investing in economic aid and a global effort at stabilization. It’s doubtful whether the Long War can continue without US ground troops, but that’s the only alternative that can be imagined in the national security mindset. RAND historian Seth Jones, like many defense intellectuals, emphasizes that we are in a "Long War" that "will be measured in decades." Such dim and narrow views mean there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, which is why we are going down the rabbit hole in Yemen."

Libya’s Restive Revolutionaries‘ (Nicolas Pelham, Middle East Report)

"Yet so far the electoral process has proceeded remarkably smoothly. The Electoral Commission has registered over 70 percent of an estimated 3.4 million eligible voters in three weeks, exceeding UN and government targets. In contrast to Iraq, which was ruled by America in the aftermath of dictatorship, Libyans — thuwwar included — have one great advantage: a sense of ownership of their country’s destiny and the responsibility that comes with it. Amid no small amount of xenophobia — befitting a country with vast wealth, a small population and oversized fear of predatory scavengers — external players have sensibly stayed out of sight. For all the hand wringing and post-civil war bloodletting, Libya might just pull through."

–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

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.