With violence already steadily rising over the past several months, Iraq is now reeling after a pair of very high profile attacks in Baghdad over the weekend have left at least 75 people killed and several hundred others wounded. 11 others were killed and scores of others wounded outside of Baghdad as well.
An attack on a village along the southern outskirts of Baghdad late Friday night saw English-speaking men in uniforms resembling those of the US military march into the village and massacre some 25 members of an extended family, the bulk of whom were members of the US-backed Awakening Council militia.
Saturday night saw a flurry of mortars launched against the heavily fortified Green Zone, with at least six rounds reported between night and morning. No casualties were reported.
Then today in the western Mansoor District four suicide bombers tried to attack embassies, including those of the Iranian, Syrian, and Egyptian governments. The attacks left at least 50 people killed and over 250 wounded, with the toll still rising.
The nation is anxiously awaiting the results of the private referendum organized by the Sadr bloc, aimed at deciding which Prime Minister the key faction will support, but while those results are expected in a few days, the security situation, like the political situation, seems to be crumbling at an alarming rate.
Though it is unclear how much of this violence is directly related to the election and the disputes thereof, it seems clear that the March vote has added to the tensions nationwide, and the tenuous stability forged in the wake of a multi-year civil war seems apt to collapse once again.
All this comes at a time when the US was supposed to be speeding up the rate of its “drawdown,” after removing only a paltry number of troops in Obama first 15 months in office. But the goal to have the force down to 50,000 by August looks increasingly unlikely, and officials who have been openly talking of a “plan B” for awhile seem to have all the excuse they need now.