Thursday, November 23, 2017

Near daily attacks in Iraq killed more than 200 in June

RECOMMENDED READING


BAGHDAD — A half year after the U.S. military left Iraq, dire predictions seem to be coming true: The country is mired in violence and the government is on the verge of collapsing. With no relief in sight, there's growing talk of Iraq being a failed state as al-Qaida's local wing staged numerous attacks that killed at least 234 people in June.

Iraq no longer suffers widespread retaliatory killings between Sunni and Shiite extremists that brought the country to the brink of civil war. But the spike in violence heightens fears that Iraq could limp along for years as an unstable and dangerous country.

June was the second-deadliest month since U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq in mid December as insurgents exploited the political struggles between the country's ethnic and sectarian factions. There was a major deadly bombing or shooting rampage almost every three days, many targeting Shiite pilgrims.

"The state is almost paralyzed and dysfunctional due to political feuds. In such circumstances, the security forces also will be paralyzed and the insurgents groups are making use of this chaos," said Haider al-Saadi, the Shiite owner of an Internet cafe in Baghdad. "I do not think that al-Qaida is getting any stronger — it is the state that is getting weaker."

The situation deteriorated shortly after American troops left Iraq on Dec. 18.

The next day Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government issued terror charges against Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's highest-ranking Sunnis, who fled Baghdad. Sunni lawmakers briefly boycotted parliament and Maliki's Cabinet in protest. By spring, leaders of the self-ruled Kurdish northern region joined the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya political coalition against Maliki, whom they accused of refusing to share power.

And last week, in the first major defection by an influential Shiite leader, anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said he would direct his followers to join efforts to oust Maliki if a power-sharing agreement is not reached.

Maliki followed with a threat to call for early elections that would dissolve parliament if government infighting does not stop.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh agreed Saturday that the political crisis has fueled June's violent surge.

Comments
Zimbabwe asks if new leader, a Mugabe ally, can bring change

Zimbabwe asks if new leader, a Mugabe ally, can bring change

Zimbabwe asks if new leader, a Mugabe ally, can bring change; 'He has a long past'
Updated: 3 minutes ago

AP Top News at 2:30 a.m. EST

AP Top News at 2:30 a.m. EST
Updated: 3 minutes ago
Pakistan releases US-wanted militant suspect on court order

Pakistan releases US-wanted militant suspect on court order

Pakistani authorities acting on a court order have released a U.S.-wanted militant who allegedly founded a banned group linked to the 2008 Mumbai attack.
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Pakistan releases US-wanted militant suspect on court order

Pakistan releases US-wanted militant suspect on court order

Pakistani authorities acting on a court order have released a U.S.-wanted militant who allegedly founded a banned group linked to the 2008 Mumbai attack.
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Zimbabweans preparing to greet country's new leader

Zimbabweans preparing to greet country's new leader

Zimbabweans preparing to greet country's new leader after whirlwind political drama
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Zimbabweans preparing to greet country's new leader

Zimbabweans preparing to greet country's new leader

Zimbabweans preparing to greet country's new leader after whirlwind political drama
Updated: 9 minutes ago
The Latest: Zimbabweans ready to greet country's new leader

The Latest: Zimbabweans ready to greet country's new leader

Zimbabweans preparing to greet country's new leader after whirlwind political drama
Updated: 16 minutes ago
No Bridges, no problem as No. 4 Michigan St beats DePaul

No Bridges, no problem as No. 4 Michigan St beats DePaul

Matt McQuaid hit six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 20 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 13 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 4 Michigan State shook DePaul in the second half for a 73-51 win in the opening round of the PK80 Invitational
Updated: 18 minutes ago
8 thought to be North Korean fishermen wash ashore in Japan

8 thought to be North Korean fishermen wash ashore in Japan

Japanese police are investigating eight men found on Japan's northern coast who say they are from North Korea and washed ashore after their boat broke down
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Koulechov scores 26 as No. 7 Florida routs Stanford 108-87

Koulechov scores 26 as No. 7 Florida routs Stanford 108-87

Egor Koulechov had 26 points, including five 3-pointers, and No. 7 Florida routed Stanford 108-87 in the Phil Knight Invitational
Updated: 1 hour ago