The culmination of the Arbaeen pilgrimage today saw dozens more casualties among the ten million pilgrims who traveled to Karbala for the religious holiday. At least 46 Iraqis were killed and 168 more were wounded there and elsewhere. A Syrian was also killed. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reminded U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill not to exceed his authority in regards to a controversial elections blacklist.
No reports of violence escaped Iraq today; however, there were other important news stories. Among them, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill promises that he is not in Arbil to encourage Kurds to make concessions to the Arab-led central government. Meanwhile, Iraq is cracking down on shops that sell military and police uniforms. Also, Amnesty International has asked for a halt the increasing passage of death sentences.
The Iraqi army chief of staff, Gen. Babaker B. Shawkat Zebari, said attacks in Iraq could continue for years after the U.S. pullout in 2011. Meanwhile, Iraqi lawmaker Hanin al-Qadu, who represents Iraq’s Shabak minority in parliament, blamed Kurd militants for recent bombings in northern Iraq. At least nine Iraqis were killed and 30 more were wounded in today’s various attacks.