Fears of Civil War Grip Iraq as Bombings and Death Skyrocket

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Common Dreams

Fears of Civil War Grip Iraq as Bombings and Death Skyrocket

More than decade after US invasion, Iraq besieged by violence, instability, and fear

by
Jon Queally, staff writer

An Iraqi police officer inspects the site of a car bomb attack in Basra. (Photograph: Nabil Al-Jurani/AP)

Providing further evidence that Iraq is already experiencing the violence of a civil war, multiple bombings in two major cities on Monday killed dozens of people and injured many more.

News agencies report that more than thirty-four people were killed, adding to a string of other violence that left more than 150 people dead from the end of last week and through the weeked.

According to Al-Jazeera:

Eight car bombs in mainly Shia districts of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killed 20 people on Monday and 11 others were killed by attacks in the southern city of Basra, police and medics said.

Explosions were also reported in the city of Samarra but there was no immediate word on casualties.

Scores of people have been killed in attacks over the past week as tensions between minority Sunni Muslims and Shia who now lead Iraq have reached their highest level since US troops pulled out in December 2011.

Two car bombs hit Basra, a predominantly Shia southern city 420km southeast of Baghdad.

The first bomb struck the Hananiya neighbourhood, near a busy market and restaurants, and the second was detonated inside a bus terminal in Saad Square, police and medics said.

Following last week's violence, Al-Jazeera correspondent Omar Al Saleh said: "Iraq is facing its worst crisis since the occupying US forces withdrew over a year ago ... many Iraqis fear the sectarian nature of the recent attacks means the country is heading towards a civil war."

Political and sectarian violence spiked last month, making April the most deadly month in Iraq in more than five years. Though the US media has largely ignored the violence and political instability, experts on the country are saying a civil war is simmering, is very much real, and as one Iraqi politician told foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn earlier this month, it will be "worse than Syria" when it ultimately takes hold.

As the Associated Press reports in the wake of Monday's violence:

Tensions have been intensifying in Iraq since Sunnis began protesting against what they say is mistreatment at the hands of the Shia-led government.

The protests, which began in December, have largely been peaceful, but the number of attacks rose sharply after a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in the country's north on 23 April.

Majority Shias control the levers of power in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. Wishing to rebuild the nation rather than revert to open warfare, they have largely restrained their militias over the past five years or so as Sunni extremist groups such as al-Qaida have targeted them with occasional large-scale attacks.

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