Violence continues, the political crisis continues. Tang Danlu (Xinhua) explores the increased violence with regards to the political crisis:
"Logically, such attacks are carried out by the extremist Sunni and Shiite militant groups, despite they have so far not claimed any responsibility," Sabah al-Sheikh, a professor of politics at Baghdad University told Xinhua.
"Those groups are exploiting the deterioration of the political atmosphere as well as the sectarian division in Iraq and in the region as well," Sheik said.
Since more than a month ago, the Shiite-led government has been at odds with the Sunni communities north and west of Baghdad. The Sunnis complain about injustice, marginalization and claim that the Shiite-dominated security forces indiscriminately arrest their sons and torture them.
The protests started in December in Anbar province, the heartland of Sunni Arabs, and quickly spread to the Sunni provinces of Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahudin and Diyala, as well as in Baghdad's Sunni districts.
Also exploring the current conflicts is Areej Elahi-Siddiqui (PolicyMic):
Although tensions have been rising over the past few years, with Sunnis feeling suppressed and discriminated against, and complaints of suffering from an unequal distribution of power becoming more and more frequent, these eruptions have been spurred by a specific trigger – Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, had the Sunni Finance Minister Rafie al-Issaqi's bodyguards arrested for terrorist activities late in December. This came almost a year after Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashmi's security detail was arrested.
Nouri has gone back on every pledge he's made in his second term. He trashed his promise that he would not seek a second term when he's now gearing up to do just that in the 2014 parliamentary elections. He trashed his promise a year ago to fix corruption in 100 days. He trashed his promise to offer a coalition government that practiced power-sharing. He breaks every promise. Than he expects people to take him at his word?
The most surprising report today comes via Chana Ya'ar (Israel National News) who reports, "Iraq allegedly has agreed to allow 50,000 Iranian Basij militia troops into the country to help suppress riots against the government and seize Arab and other foreign embassies, including that of the United States." Is it true, it is false? Who knows but you can bet the State Dept and the CIA are scrambling as they try to figure out what to tell the White House.
I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name
The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.
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