‘Bloody Monday’ – terror engulfs Iraq again

When American forces invaded Iraq in April 2003 the main reason given was to rescue the country from the terror and mass killings of Saddam’s regime. But since then, according to Iraq Body Count, more than 100,000 Iraqis have died violently. Yesterday was ‘Bloody Monday’, the deadliest day in Iraq this year. 68 people were killed and around 300 injured across the country in 11 car bombs, 19 IED attacks and two suicide bombings. These attacks affected almost every region, apart from the Kurdistan Region, including cities such as Karbala and Najaf which are controlled by forces loyal to the Shia government of Al Maliki.

This was clearly a coordinated assault although it remains unclear who was responsible. There is media speculation about the involvement of al-Queda affiliates, who first appeared in Iraq after 2003 but were thought to have recently suffered big setbacks. Another possibility is pro-Iranian elements pursuing Iran’s agenda of keeping Iraq weak and divided. Whoever is to blame, the attacks reveal once more the country’s inherent instability and they were undoubtedly a bloody contribution to the discussion about the scheduled withdrawal of American troops.

This mass murder also takes place against a background of stubborn poverty, high unemployment and public services being devastated due to unstable government and rampant corruption: according to Transparency International Iraq is the world’s fourth most corrupt country. Without tackling these problems – and the weakness of state and security institutions – Iraq will not enjoy lasting peace.

An obvious question for the Kurds is: could this violence spread to our region? Already this year we have had the prolonged Iranian bombardment of our borders. Tensions have also increased – between Kurds and Arabs – in Diyala. Yet the KRG has failed to take a firm stand on these issues. Bloody Monday is a chilling reminder that we need strong, principled and honest leadership in the Kurdistan Region, and a government we can trust to always give priority to national rather than personal interests.



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