Iraq: Attacks Leave Dozens Dead, As Kurds Mull Sending Peshmerga To Borders

Attacks were on the upswing today as a suicide bombing at the largest Sunni mosque in Baghdad left over two dozen worshippers, including a member of parliament, dead. It wasn’t the only attack in Iraq though. Overall, at least 42 Iraqis were killed and 81 more were wounded across the country.

However, violence also continued just across the border in Turkey, where at least seven people were killed and 11 more were wounded. In one of the incidents, during a protest against air strikes in Iraq, a local politician there was killed as well. In Iraqi Kurdistan, meanwhile, a senior Kurdish politician called on Kurdish rebels to lay down their arms and end the guerilla war that has left thousands dead in both countries.

Former Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said in an interview with Rudaw today that Kurdistan is arranging to send Peshmerga fighters to the borders with Turkey and Iran. Since July, Iran has been conducting operations against Kurdish rebels inside Iraqi territory. Recently, Turkey implemented its own air strikes. This is a complete reversal to earlier statements that the air strike issue should be dealt with, diplomatically, by Baghdad alone.

Barzani also asked Kurdish rebels to lay down their arms. The Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K) and the offshoot Party Of A Free Life Of Kurdistan (P.J.A.K.) have been fighting Turkey and Iran, respectively, in a guerilla war that has lasted decades. Furthermore, he suggested that the United States and European Union help find solutions to the Kurdish problem within Turkey. Turkey has been trying to assimilate the Kurds since the 1920s, but the Kurds have resisted the attempts. Even today they are second-class citizens within the Turkish state, giving the P.K.K. an excuse to wage their campaign.

Barzani is now deputy chairman of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (K.D.P.), which his uncle leads. The K.D.P. is one of two parties that maintain a stranglehold on Kurdish politics, allowing him to deal directly with Turkey, Iran and Baghdad. Opposition party Goran has been highly critical of the regional government’s response to these ongoing assaults and claims that the K.R.G. is too dependent on Turkish investment to be effective in demanding an end to the intrusions. Meanwhile, Baghdad’s equally limp response has been to promise that two billion Iraqi dinars would go towards compensating victims of these operations.

Just today in Turkey, a tear gas canister killed a Kurdish politician during a protest against Turkish air strikes. In other attacks, three soldiers were killed and two more were wounded during a bombing in Hakkari province. In another part of the same province, two rebels were killed when a bomb they were handling exploded prematurely. Six civilians were wounded during a mysterious blast at a resort in Kemer. Some of the victims may have been foreign tourists. Finally, another attack on a police outpost left one guard dead and three more wounded.

Back in Iraq, a spate of attacks left dozens dead:

In Baghdad, a suicide bomber struck at a mosque in Jamiaa where he killed 29 people, including a lawmaker Khalid al-Fahdawi, and wounded 38 others late in the evening. One person was killed and eight others were wounded during a car bombing in Ilam. A double bombing in Bayaa wounded three people. Three people were wounded in a bombing in Zaafaraniya. Another two were wounded by a blast in Shula. Two more were wounded in Jadriya during a sticky bomb attack, and three people were wounded in an eighth blast, this one in Karrada.

In Jalawla, a politician and his driver were killed in a drive-by attack. Gunmen killed two policemen at a checkpoint. Separately, a Peshmerga fighter was wounded in a bomb attack. Jalawla is in a part of Diyala province claimed by both the Kurds and the central government. The K.R.G. recently voted to re-deploy Peshmerga there.

Gunmen attacked a checkpoint in Salman Pak where they killed a woman and wounded four others.

Three people were killed at a fake checkpoint in Baquba. Fake checkpoints were common during the height of sectarian warfare in Iraq but disappeared in recent years. Lately, reports of them have been on a slight increase.

In Mosul, a sticky bomb killed a policeman and wounded four others.

A policeman was killed in a Samarra drive-by shooting.

A motorcycle bomb wounded two policemen in Tuz Khormato. A civilian bystander was also hurt.

Two people were killed and five others were wounded in Tarmiya when a bomb exploded.

A bombing in Falluja wounded two people.

A woman was wounded during an attack in Othmaniya.

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Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.