The news from the war capitals isn’t good. In Kabul, the Taliban is carrying out attacks at the very center of Afghanistan’s capital, rocketing the grounds of the presidential palace, launching suicide bombs at Kabul convoys, and last week setting off huge bombs on the heavily guarded road between the US embassy and the presidential palace.
But today I’m focusing on Iraq, where today bombers set off near-simultaneous truck bombs that devasted the Iraqi foreign ministry and finance ministry, killing 100 people and injuring at least 600, on opposite sides of the Tigris River. The entire heart of the Iraqi capital is in shock. At the foreign ministry, an official told the New York Times, “The whole ministry is destroyed.”
It’s probably the most significant bombings in Baghdad since the attacks on the Jordanian embassy and the United Nations offices in 2003.
Separately, at least six mortars rained down on two heavily transited locations in central Baghdad, Iraqi officials said. Three mortars targeted the Green Zone, the fortified enclave in Baghdad that contains the U.S. Embassy and many Iraqi government offices.
It’s impossible to overstate the significance of these attacks. While President Obama and the Pentagon are focused on Afghanistan, the war in Iraq is showing signs of heading south, and fast. It’s not unexpected. Iraq’s Arabs and Kurds are nearly at war along the long front that separates the Kurdish region from the rest of Iraq, especially in and around Nineveh province, whose capital is Mosul, and over Tamim province, whose capital, Kirkuk, is coveted by the expansionist Kurds. Meanwhile, the Sunni Arab minority is increasingly alienated from the regime of Prime Minister Maliki, who’s staunchly refused to compromise with the demands of the opposition to his increasingly authoritarian rule. For more than a year, I’ve been warning (along with others) that the Iraqi resistance movement, from its nationalist core to its more perverse, pro-Al Qaeda elements, might explode again. Maybe it’s started already. In any case, the Sons of Iraq, or the Awakening movement, are getting the shaft from Maliki, and they are restless.