Iraq hit by series of shootings and bombings

A dozen bombs and shootings across Iraq have left at least 21 people dead and scores injured. Car bombs struck Husainiya, the Shiite district of Baghdad, and Taji in northern Baghdad. In Kirkuk, four bombs were placed around a military officer’s house and a bomb also exploded near a group of restaurants. Overnight attacks on ...

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

A dozen bombs and shootings across Iraq have left at least 21 people dead and scores injured. Car bombs struck Husainiya, the Shiite district of Baghdad, and Taji in northern Baghdad. In Kirkuk, four bombs were placed around a military officer's house and a bomb also exploded near a group of restaurants. Overnight attacks on police checkpoints in Baquba and Falluja killed six police officers and wounded 13. Al-Qaeda's local wing, the Islamic State of Iraq, who claimed responsibility for attacks in June and July, is believed to be behind these bombings. According to security experts, the Al-Qaeda branch has been reinforced by the flow of money and fighters into Syria. 

Syria

The Syrian conflict has spilled over into Lebanon, as more than 30 Syrians in Lebanon have been abducted by members of a prominent Lebanese Shiite family. The kidnappings are meant to avenge the abduction of their family member who was taken hostage by Syrian rebels. The captors also threatened to continue kidnappings and create chaos in the streets until their relative is released. Citizens from Saudi Arabia and Turkey are among those being held hostage. Subsequently, Gulf states have urged their citizens in Lebanon to leave the country. Meanwhile, air strikes in a residential neighborhood of Azaz, north of Aleppo, have killed at least forty people and wounded dozens others. The town is controlled by the opposition. Two opposition facilities used by the Free Syrian Army might have been targets. The strike also appeared to target a makeshift media center that is used by foreign reporters. Meanwhile, American officials believe that several of the Iranians captured in Damascus this month by the opposition were members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and not, in fact, pilgrims. Valerie Amos, the United Nations emergency relief coordinator, said that 2.5 million Syrians are in need of assistance, but relief is blocked by the increased violence.

A dozen bombs and shootings across Iraq have left at least 21 people dead and scores injured. Car bombs struck Husainiya, the Shiite district of Baghdad, and Taji in northern Baghdad. In Kirkuk, four bombs were placed around a military officer’s house and a bomb also exploded near a group of restaurants. Overnight attacks on police checkpoints in Baquba and Falluja killed six police officers and wounded 13. Al-Qaeda’s local wing, the Islamic State of Iraq, who claimed responsibility for attacks in June and July, is believed to be behind these bombings. According to security experts, the Al-Qaeda branch has been reinforced by the flow of money and fighters into Syria. 

Syria

The Syrian conflict has spilled over into Lebanon, as more than 30 Syrians in Lebanon have been abducted by members of a prominent Lebanese Shiite family. The kidnappings are meant to avenge the abduction of their family member who was taken hostage by Syrian rebels. The captors also threatened to continue kidnappings and create chaos in the streets until their relative is released. Citizens from Saudi Arabia and Turkey are among those being held hostage. Subsequently, Gulf states have urged their citizens in Lebanon to leave the country. Meanwhile, air strikes in a residential neighborhood of Azaz, north of Aleppo, have killed at least forty people and wounded dozens others. The town is controlled by the opposition. Two opposition facilities used by the Free Syrian Army might have been targets. The strike also appeared to target a makeshift media center that is used by foreign reporters. Meanwhile, American officials believe that several of the Iranians captured in Damascus this month by the opposition were members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and not, in fact, pilgrims. Valerie Amos, the United Nations emergency relief coordinator, said that 2.5 million Syrians are in need of assistance, but relief is blocked by the increased violence.

Headlines

  • A prominent Bahraini human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, was sentenced to a three year jail term for participating in "illegal gatherings."
  • As many as 400 Israelis have signed an online petition urging Israeli Defense Force pilots to disobey orders if they’re asked to attack Iran.
  • Moves by Egyptian authorities to stifle print and broadcast journalism has elicited criticism from the news media.

Arguments and Analysis

A bomb plot shows Syria’s weakening hand in Lebanon‘ (Michael Young, The National)

"With much going on in the Middle East, few people seemed to notice a dramatic event in Lebanon last week: the arrest of Michel Samaha, a prominent pro-Syrian Lebanese former minister. This was followed by a legal accusation issued by the military judiciary against him and a senior Syrian intelligence officer, Ali Mamlouk, and Gen Mamlouk’s deputy."

The First Hints of Violence Set Back Sudan’s Beleaguered Protest Movement‘ (Armin Rosen, The Atlantic)

"The six-week-old movement sometimes called the "Sudan Revolts," a series of ongoing protests against President Omar al-Bashir’s government, experienced their first lethal incident on July 31. According to an A.P. report, the violence began when over 1000 students and transportation workers marched through Nyala, the largest city in the troubled western region of Darfur. They were protesting the nearly bankrupt government’s suspension of fuel subsidies, which had doubled the price of gasoline. Radio Dabanga, a citizen journalism project covering events in Darfur, reported that the protestors threw rocks, marched on government media offices, and burned police and gas stations. In response, the police attacked them with tear gas and live ammunition. The A.P. reported the same from Cairo, citing sources in the area."

Despite Pledge, Syrian Rebels Continue to Torture‘ (Jamie Dettmer, The Daily Beast)

"After a video surfaced showing Syrian rebels executing four pro-government militiamen in Aleppo, more than two dozen rebel leaders-at the urging of human-rights groups-signed a pledge on August 8 to stop executing and torturing captives in their battle to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Yet as The Daily Beast discovered during a disturbing and at times surreal visit to a detention center in Al Bab in northeastern Syria on August 10, members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main rebel-fighter force, still appeared to be involved in torture and abuse."

–By Jennifer Parker

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.