A significant attack in Kirkuk may have shook the country today and reminded the world of Iraq’s continuing violence, but it is the amount of chronic corruption within government that perhaps has even more Iraqis rattled. At least 14 Iraqis were killed in attacks across the country and 121 more were wounded.
The head of the Commission on Integrity (COI), Rahim Hassan al-Uqailee, warned that corruption is a major source of financing for terrorist groups, but self-protection within the departments and among their ministers exacerbates the situation. The corruption, however, exists at lower levels of government as well. Iraqi citizens in Baghdad are complaining of needing to bribe city workers for the most basic of services. The lack of these services has triggered a number of protests and clashes throughout the country in the last year, particularly that of electricity. In response, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has pledged to solve the lack of electricity, but the Electricity Ministry alone would require a tenth of Iraq’s budget to rebuild.
Three consecutive car bombs in Kirkuk killed at least 11 Iraqis and wounded as many as 104 more. A suicide bomber was possibly in the first car. Two bombs may have been targeting the Asayesh forces (Kurdish intelligence) and a police patrol, while the third exploded down the street and narrowly missed a senior police official. A cameraman caught video of one explosion before being knocked off his feet by the shock wave.
The provincial police chief, Major General Jamal Taher Bakr, blamed Ansar al-Islam for the coordinated attack. The group had previously threatened attacks over the arrests of female Muslims. Kirkuk is a multicultural city that is at the de facto border between Arab and Kurdish Iraq. Because of this, it is still protected by U.S. troops, and many residents suspect that once they leave Kirkuk will again be plagued by violence.
Two soldiers were killed and two more were wounded in a blast in Tal Afar.
An I.E.D. in Garma wounded four soldiers, including an officer.
Separate blasts in Mosul wounded a policeman and a 14-year-old girl.
Looters wounded a driver in Amara.