Another day means another massive death toll in Iraq, with 133 more people slain in religious violence that has been tearing across the nation for the past week, threatening to return Iraq to the worst days of its last sectarian civil war.
Violence has been trending upward for months in Iraq, with April finally reaching a level not seen since Summer 2008, when the last sectarian conflict was winding down. With May now half over, it seems like it will be at least as bad as April, and the trend is not over.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, coming under increasing fire for picking fights with the nation’s Sunni Arab minority and for failing to stop the huge attacks that followed, is reportedly planning a shuffle of high level security officials in the next few days.
Maliki announced his intention today in comments to journalists, but the reality is that the “top” of Iraq’s security posts are overwhelmingly unfilled, with Maliki serving not just as the prime minister, but also as defense minister, interior minister and national security minister, as well as the head of the military. That centralization spawned a lot of criticism in and of itself, and it is going to make “shuffling” positions of any meaning awfully difficult, since he’s made it amply clear he doesn’t intend to share power.