Friday, April 07, 2006

Bloody April

The weekend should have been joyful. After all, three years ago Saddam Hussein's regime fell.

Instead, there was shock, anger, and grief.

“This is not the first time the occupation forces and their death squads have resorted to killings.”

That was Moqtada Sadr April 6 after a suicide car bomber attacked the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf. The 13 deaths in that explosion, as devastating as they are for the families of the victims, pale in comparison to the toll in the triple suicide bomb mayhem at the Buratha mosque in Baghdad. Reports say that at least 80 are dead and 160 injured in the assault on one of the city’s oldest mosque.

Like the Najaf explosion, the motive for the attacks – and thus the identity and affiliation with a sect or political faction – is unclear. The convenient scapegoat is al-Qaeda in Iraq, as it has said it will do whatever is required to drive the coalition out and keep the country divided.

To hear Jalil Eddin al-Sagheer, imam of Buratha, the latter part of the tactic may be succeeding, Not injured himself, al-Sagheer reportedly was angry as he told western reporters that today’s bombing was part of “a campaign of distortion and lies” perpetrated by Sunni politicians and clerics. Moreover, he accused the world of once again (as in the 1990s) failing to provide security for Shi’ites by ignoring Sunni depredations in Iraq’s “dirty sectarian war.”

So at the end of April 7, in less than 18 hours in Iraq, the recorded count from throughout the country stands at 4 suicide bombers, 114 Iraqi civilians and 9 members of the security forces killed.

Since the February 22 attack that destroyed the Golden Dome mosque in Samarra, almost 1,600 Iraqi civilians and 275 security personnel have been killed. At the pace so far this month – 265 dead in seven days – April will easily surpass March’s 901 civilian fatalities.

By comparison, since February 22, U.S. fatalities in Iraq total 68 and coalition losses stand at 5.

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