Wednesday, January 23, 2013

AQI attempting to exacerbate political tensions

Three car bombs exploded in and around the peripheries of the capital on 22 Jan. In the town of Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded killing five people and wounding 14 others including two army soldiers. To the north of the capital a car bomb exploded killing seven people and wounding 20 others, both attacks appear to have been targeting Iraqi Army checkpoints. In the northwestern suburb of Shula, a Shiite impoverished area of the capital, a third car bomb exploded at a popular market killing five people and wounding 15 others. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings although mass casualty attacks are emblematic of al-Qaeda operations in Iraq. Tuesday's violence comes four days after a spate of attacks claimed by AQI affiliate group, the Islamic State of Iraq, left at least 88 people dead.
Yet again this month, Iraq has been subjected to a round of high lethality and seemingly coordinated attacks. The total death toll now reaching 25 dead and 46 wounded according to a number of Iraqi media sites. In terms of perspective and/or analysis, the violence and troubles come with barely three months to go before the provincial elections. Iraq’s first polls in three years, and a key barometer to gauge the popularity of PM Maliki and his rivals. Provincial elections are supposed to take place in April. Yet with violence increasing, and no change to the swelling size of anti-government demonstrations, it seems the Maliki administration is in a zero sum situation, either re-start dialogue with the Sunni and Kurdish leaders (thus re-establishing some government credibility), or face greater civil unrest and the possibility of more violence as AQI attempt to further ignite the political crisis in Iraq.

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