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» 04/24/2009
IRAQ
Two attacks in Baghdad kill 60, country on the edge of civil war
Two female suicide bombers attack an important Shia mosque in the capital. At least 60 people are killed and 125 wounded. Sources tell AsiaNews that it is “war” in the capital with mortars, bazookas and bombs. Fighting is taking place in Kirkuk over oil.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Iraq is on its way towards sliding into civil war. In the last few days several car bombs have exploded in short order. Mortar and bazooka attacks have been reported as Sunni and Shia factions begin to battle it out in an undeclared war. When the Americans leave “it will get worse’” sources told AsiaNews. For the latter Iraq is already a “divided country at war.”

Today’s attacks took place at the Imam Moussa al-Kadhim shrine in the Kadhimiya area; 60 were killed when two female suicide bombers blew themselves up. More than a hundred people were wounded but the final toll is set to rise.

In Diyala province another car bomb killed one Iraqi soldier, wounding three.

“There is no political will to find a solution,” the source said. “The country is still split between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions. Every party has an armed wing that carries out attacks, commits crimes and indulges in violence. We are witnessing a struggle for power that will get worse.”

The election of Iyad al-Samarrai’e to the post of speaker, a Sunni member of the National Assembly’s Finance Committee, has made matters worse. 

However, as the winds of war blow in Baghdad, the international community is strangely silent. For many the departure of US troops “will inevitably cause further violence.”

“The US government is like Pontius Pilate,” the source said. “In Iraq we are on the eve of war and the US administration is washing its hands. In his election campaign Barack Obama promised to pull US troops out, criticising Bush’s policy. Now he wants to keep that promise despite all the innocent blood that has been shed.”

The northern part of the country has not been spared by this new wave of violence. In Kirkuk there are open clashes over who will control the area’s oil between the Kurds, who signed concessions with foreign companies, and the central government.

In the midst of all this the local Christian community has come under attack and is being used by a political faction to grab power.

“Kurds say they are defending the Christians to show that they are for minority protection,” the source said. “This way they can give legitimacy to their army and their hold over the region.”


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See also
08/19/2008 IRAQ
In Kirkuk Christian and Muslim leaders pray for peace in the country
11/13/2007 IRAQ
Baghdad’s “successes” vs Mosul’s “hell”
09/10/2012 IRAQ
Archbishop of Kirkuk: sectarian violence in Iraq "politically motivated"
by Joseph Mahmood
07/31/2008 IRAQ
Christians and Muslims show solidarity for Kirkuk attack victims
02/20/2009 IRAQ
Provincial elections: al Maliki triumphs in Baghdad and Basra. Anbar goes to tribal Sunnis

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope remembers and prays for "latest tragedy" of migrants, "our brothers and sisters" who "are seeking happiness"At the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis says he is praying for the hundreds of victims in a sinking off the coast of Libya. An appeal to the international community to "act decisively and promptly." "Every baptized person is called to witness in word and deed, that Jesus is risen, He is alive and present in our midst." The Christian message "is not a theory, an ideology or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions, or moralism, but a message of salvation, a concrete event, even a person: the Risen Christ, the living and only Savior of all" . The Pope will be in Turin on June 21 to honor the Shroud, the exposition of which begins today.
SAUDI ARABIA – YEMEN
Saudi war in Yemen masks widening domestic tensions
by Afshin ShahiSaudi Arabia is using the conflict in Yemen to control domestic problems, especially social inequalities and religious sectarianism. However, whilst the royal family flaunts its wealth, some 20 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Many disgruntled young Saudis end up becoming "foreign fighters" for the Islamic state (IS). Some 15 per cent of the Saudi population is Shia, under the heavy thumb of the Sunni-dominated state. Afshin Shahi, director of the Centre for the Study of Political Islam and lecturer in International Relations and Middle East Politics at University of Bradford, provides the following lucid analysis.
VATICAN
Pope: on the persecution of Christians, the international community should "not stand by mute and inactive” and “look away”For the sixth time in a week, Pope Francis mentioned the martyrdom of Christians in today’s Regina Caeli (the Marian prayer at Easter), slamming the indifference of the international community towards this "alarming failure to protect basic human rights.” Today’s martyrs "are many, and we can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries." In addition, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is Risen!”

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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