Attacks in and around Baghdad seemed to mimic last Thursday’s coordinated attacks against security personnel. However, today’s violence targeted gold dealers and civilians instead. It is believed that insurgents rob gold and jewelry stores in order to finance their operations. At least 29 Iraqis were killed and 50 more were wounded. Meanwhile, an impromptu summit in Kurdistan could signal an intensified campaign to force Maliki to comply with a power-sharing deal.
Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr made his first trip to Iraqi Kurdistan for talks with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani. The two presumably discussed the political tensions that are threatening Iraq’s coalition government. Earlier this week, Sadr met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to understand his side of the story.
Only yesterday, Barzani threatened secession should Baghdad continue to ignore the power-sharing deal that allowed Maliki to retain his post despite losing elections in 2010. In that deal, brokered by Barzani and supported by Sadr, certain goals were made that the Maliki administration has not fulfilled. Instead, Maliki has spent the last year consolidating his power and harassing Sunni politicians. Because of such actions, both Barzani and Sadr have recently called Maliki a dictator. Sadr insists that all minorities must be represented in the government.
At least 29 Iraqis were killed and 50 more were wounded in various attacks:
A Baghdad gold market was a target for insurgents. Two goldsmiths and four security personnel were killed in an attack, which took place in Ur. A car bomb blast in Hurriya left three dead and 15 wounded.
Two carloads of gunmen attacked the mayor’s office in Tarmiya, where they killed three policemen. Shortly afterwards, two policemen were killed in a drive-by shooting. It is unknown if the same group of men committed either of these attacks or the one in Baquba.
Two people were killed and 16 more were killed in a blast targeting an army patrol in Sadr City.
In Qayara, a bomb killed two soldiers.
An I.E.D. exploded in Qaim, wounding a civilian that was driving by it.
A soldier was shot dead in Mosul.