Bombings hit Baghdad markets killing at least 23 people

Bombings at busy markets across the Iraqi capital of Baghdad have killed at least 23 people Thursday. The most severe attack was in Sabaa al-Bour, about 20 miles north of Baghdad, where three bombs exploded killing at least 15 people, and wounding an estimated 40 others. Additionally, a bombing in a market in the southern ...

ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images
ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images
ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images

Bombings at busy markets across the Iraqi capital of Baghdad have killed at least 23 people Thursday. The most severe attack was in Sabaa al-Bour, about 20 miles north of Baghdad, where three bombs exploded killing at least 15 people, and wounding an estimated 40 others. Additionally, a bombing in a market in the southern Baghdad district of Dora killed eight people. On Wednesday, an estimated 33 people were killed in attacks across Iraq, including a coordinated assault on a local council building and police station in the northern town of Hawija. Sectarian violence has surged throughout Iraq in recent months and spill over violence from the neighboring Syrian conflict has intensified sectarian overtones. Adding to tensions has been a recent campaign by Iraqi security forces arresting alleged al Qaeda members in and around Baghdad. The arrests have largely been in Sunni districts, angering the Sunni community.

Syria

The U.N. Security Council is nearing a deal on a resolution on Syria, according to Western diplomats, however Russia denied the claims, saying work is "still going on." Envoys from the United States, Russia, France, China, and Britain met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the sidelines of the General Assembly on Wednesday to work on the draft resolution, and are reportedly planning to meet Friday to discuss a proposed peace conference in Geneva. One Western diplomat said they had reached an agreement on the core of a draft resolution. However, Russia said, "This is just their wishful thinking." The group has been divided over whether the resolution will include a Chapter VII mandate allowing for sanctions or the use of force for non-compliance. According to diplomats, they are now considering including only a "reference" to Chapter VII so that another resolution would be required to impose sanctions or authorize a military intervention. Meanwhile, a mortar shell hit the Iraqi Embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus Thursday, reportedly killing one person and wounding five others.

Bombings at busy markets across the Iraqi capital of Baghdad have killed at least 23 people Thursday. The most severe attack was in Sabaa al-Bour, about 20 miles north of Baghdad, where three bombs exploded killing at least 15 people, and wounding an estimated 40 others. Additionally, a bombing in a market in the southern Baghdad district of Dora killed eight people. On Wednesday, an estimated 33 people were killed in attacks across Iraq, including a coordinated assault on a local council building and police station in the northern town of Hawija. Sectarian violence has surged throughout Iraq in recent months and spill over violence from the neighboring Syrian conflict has intensified sectarian overtones. Adding to tensions has been a recent campaign by Iraqi security forces arresting alleged al Qaeda members in and around Baghdad. The arrests have largely been in Sunni districts, angering the Sunni community.

Syria

The U.N. Security Council is nearing a deal on a resolution on Syria, according to Western diplomats, however Russia denied the claims, saying work is "still going on." Envoys from the United States, Russia, France, China, and Britain met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the sidelines of the General Assembly on Wednesday to work on the draft resolution, and are reportedly planning to meet Friday to discuss a proposed peace conference in Geneva. One Western diplomat said they had reached an agreement on the core of a draft resolution. However, Russia said, "This is just their wishful thinking." The group has been divided over whether the resolution will include a Chapter VII mandate allowing for sanctions or the use of force for non-compliance. According to diplomats, they are now considering including only a "reference" to Chapter VII so that another resolution would be required to impose sanctions or authorize a military intervention. Meanwhile, a mortar shell hit the Iraqi Embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus Thursday, reportedly killing one person and wounding five others.

Headlines

  • Iranian President Rouhani said he wants to reach a nuclear deal in three months, in an interview ahead of a meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
  • Organizers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup say they are "appalled" by the findings of an investigation by The Guardian that show "exploitation" of Nepalese workers and "abuses that amount to modern-day slavery."
  • Turkish security forces have recaptured 17 of 18 escaped prisoners held for alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Arguments and Analysis

If at First Rouhani Doesn’t Succeed‘ (Mohsen Milani, Foreign Affairs)

"It is time for cautious optimism that, after three decades of mutual hostility, the United States and Iran could open a new chapter. There are major hurdles on the path toward a rapprochement, and both sides must have strategic patience. If it sounds difficult, that is because it is. Nevertheless, even the earliest attempts to improve ties will have their rewards. Rapprochement could start to change the landscape of the Middle East, allowing the United States to proceed with its pivot toward Asia. It would give the United States a new partner in the war against extremism and would profoundly reduce the Sunni-Shia tensions. It would ease American withdrawal from Afghanistan in December 2014. It would also begin to open up Iran’s vast oil and gas reserves to Western companies. Better ties between the United States and Iran would give Washington a new lever to slow down Russian expansionism in Central Asia and the Caucasus. The benefits for Iran are equally compelling: The crippling sanctions could be lifted. Iran’s isolation could end. It could become reintegrated into the global economy, once more attracting foreign investment.

For those reasons, Obama and Rouhani must now show political courage and strategic imagination to make the first step and see what the other is made of."

Yemen’s Southern Question: Avoiding a Breakdown‘ (International Crisis Group)

"Yemen is at a critical juncture. Its six-month National Dialogue Conference (NDC) was to have closed on 18 September, ushering in constitution drafting, a constitutional referendum and new elections. The timetable has slipped, and, though no end date has been set, there is an understandable urge among many international and some domestic actors to stick closely to agreed deadlines, wrap up the NDC negotiations and finish the transition to-do list. But despite progress, there is no broad-based, implementable agreement on the state’s future structure, and thus on the South’s status. Worse, such a result is unlikely to emerge from the current dialogue, even with a short extension. A rush to declare victory and complete the transition checklist could mean forcing through an outcome without necessary legitimacy or buy-in. It would be better to agree to a time-limited delay of the referendum, put in place modified transitional arrangements and ensure the next round of negotiations is in concert with confidence-building measures and includes a wider, more representative array of Southern voices.

How to structure the state arguably has become the most complicated and divisive political issue and must be a key component of any new constitution and durable political settlement. Parties have presented a wide array of options: from the current unitary system, through multi-region federalism, to two-state federalism (one entity in the North, the other in the South). Even this broad spectrum fails to include what, in the South, has turned into an increasingly attractive rallying cry: the demand for immediate independence."

–Mary Casey & Joshua Haber

<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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