Iraq: Bombs exploded in Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad and in surrounding towns on Friday, killing at least 76 people.
Two staggered explosions were used in the deadliest attack which targeted Muslims as they were leaving the main Sunni mosque in Baqubah, 35 miles north-east of Baghdad. The second explosion targeted people who gathered to help the wounded, leaving 41 dead and 56 wounded, according to police and hospital officials.
A roadside bomb exploded later on Friday during a Sunni funeral procession in Madain, about 12 miles south of Baghdad, killing eight mourners and wounding 11, police said. .
Another blast struck a cafe in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, killing two people and wounding nine, according to police and hospital officials.
In Baghdad, a bomb exploded near a shopping center during the evening rush hour in the mainly Sunni neighborhood of Amariyah, killing 21 people and wounding 32. That was followed by another bomb in a commercial district in Dora, another Sunni neighborhood, which killed four people and wounded 22, according to officials.
Comment: The series of bombings against Sunni targets on Friday apparently were in retaliation for two days of bombings earlier in the week against Shiite targets. Authorities reported 130 people died in attacks since Wednesday.
The momentum towards sectarian war in Iraq might have been stopped by political reforms that provided for more equitable power sharing with the Sunni political parties. The al Maliki government, instead, treated Sunni political protestors as terrorists and Baathists.
Now the time for compromise appears to have passed. One ripple effect of the fighting in Syria is that Sunni groups in Iraq have become emboldened to fight the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.
Former prime minister Allawi warned this week that the bombings will continue until al Maliki resigns and new elections are held. But neither is likely.
Phi Beta Iota: $4-6 trillion dollars for all this and Afghanistan. How might that money be better spent? How might the world look different today if intelligence with integrity had been the hallmark of US decision-making these past dozen years? One gets the government one deserves — and tolerates. On our own heads are all these crimes against humanity.