Thursday, August 17, 2006

Escalation

In Baghdad there was a car bomb explosion in the Rashad Market on the outskirts of Sadr City. Most of those killed (10) and wounded (23) were women and children. The area was sealed off by Mehdi militamen who tried to disperse the crowd in case of a second explosion. Those figures are relatively low because:

  • At this time of year people would do their shopping as early as possible in the morning to escape Baghdad's opressive summer heat.
  • Sadr city is fairly tightly policed by the Mehdi Army militia who are not however permitted to check vehicles for explosives as I said when I wrote about the al-Ula bombing :

Sadr city which is located in East Baghdad is one of the poorest and most crowded areas of Baghdad. Unemployment is very high even by the standards of American occupied Iraq and many of the streets and buildings are in a state of severe disrepair. As might be expected from the name Sadr City it's a stronghold of Mehdi Army militiamen loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr and as such has often been targetted for bomb attacks. Until very recently Mehdi Army militiamen operated checkpoints and would search vehicles entering the area. Unfortunately at the behest of the American military the Interior Ministry insisted that this cease, while at the same time Major General Jihad Taher al-Luaibi the officer in charge of the anti-explosives division in Baghdad has repeatedly complained that his men have not been given explosive detection equipment.

This reaction to this bombing therefore will follow the same pattern as al-Ula, the Kufa bombing, and the Jameelah bombing a further diminuition of the legtitimacy of the green zone government and it's forces in the eyes of al-Sadr's followers, who believe with good reason that they are being singled out for sectarian attacks, and attacks by militia loyal to other factions in the green zone government, and by the Americans and their green zone government. I would not be surprised were there to be reprisals.

Also in Baghdad a car bombing killed three police officers in al-Mansur (Mansour).

A child injured in a mortar attack in Muqdayiya is brought into baquba hosptial by an attendant

The child seen here being brought into Baquba hospital was one of 15 civilians injured in a mortar attack in Al-Muqdadiyah, about 30Km from Baquba today August 17th 2006. Three police were also wounded- mfi

Diyali

Violence also continued in Diyali province:

  • Three brothers were killed in an attack on their shop in central Baquba.
  • A civilian was shot dead in south Baquba.
  • A policeman was killed and 15 civilians injured in a mortar attack also in central Baquba.

Mosul

In Mosul to the the north a senior officer Lieutenant Colonel Abdul-Ilah Abdul-Ilah was assassinated and a car bombing at a check point killed five members of the Peshmerga and wounded four civilians.

Overview

This brief selection of today's incidents is part of pattern of escalation of violence througout the contested areas of Iraq (in particular Baghdad.) Maliki's coalition green zone government is now seen as so vulnerable and divided that many within it and within the Iraqi political class believe that its fall and the breakup of Iraq are inevitable. I expect to see the following:

  • An escalation of violence in Baghdad. Perhaps leading to "official" efforts to divide it.
  • An escalation of violence in and around Kirkuk and Mosul to the north, and Basra to the south as factions compete to seize control of their economically vital resources.
  • I also expect to see the insurgency continue to gain ground in Central iraq.

markfromireland

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