Attacks raise tensions on eve of Iraq polls

2014-04-29 12:02
Smoke rises after a parked car bomb went off at a commercial center in Khilani Square in central Baghdad, Iraq. (File, AP)

Smoke rises after a parked car bomb went off at a commercial center in Khilani Square in central Baghdad, Iraq. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Baghdad - Twin bombings killed 10 people northeast of Baghdad on Tuesday, the day after a wave of nationwide attacks cast a pall over Iraq's first general election since US troops withdrew.

The bloodshed across Iraq on Monday, which involved nine suicide bombings and several other blasts, raises questions over whether Iraq's security forces can protect upwards of 20 million eligible voters during Wednesday's polls.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, under fire over the worst protracted surge in violence in years along with a laundry list of voter grievances, is bidding for a third term in office in the election, the country's first since 2010.

The Shi’ite premier has trumpeted a battle against violent jihadists whom he claims are entering Iraq from war-torn Syria and supported by Gulf Arab states including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

But critics say the authorities' heavy-handed treatment of minority Sunnis has contributed to the unrest.

Monopolising power

In a sign of the worsening violence, a spate of attacks on Monday killed 57 people in Baghdad as well as north and west of the capital, fuelling fears voters may stay at home rather than risk being caught up in bloodshed.

On Tuesday morning, twin bombings northeast of Baghdad killed 10 more people.

"I can't imagine the militancy is going to sit back and say, 'Yeah, have your election'," said John Drake, a London-based security analyst at AKE Group.

"They are going to make a strong statement undermining the government, undermining the capability of the security forces, and hopefully deterring voters so that the vote result will be seen as illegitimate ... in the eyes of many of the electorate.

"This will harm the government, and make the terrorists seem more credible."

Nearly 3 000 people have been killed in violence so far this year, according to an AFP tally, including more than 700 already this month.

The unrest is the country's worst since it was plagued by all-out sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007 that left tens of thousands dead.

Authorities announced a week-long public holiday to try to bolster security for the election, and vehicles will be barred from Baghdad's streets from Tuesday evening.

No group claimed responsibility for the latest bloodshed, but Sunni militant groups have been accused of carrying out previous suicide bombings in an attempt to derail the political process.

Maliki, who hails from Iraq's Shi’ite Arab majority and is accused by critics of monopolising power and targeting minority groups, is widely expected to win the largest number of seats in Wednesday's poll.

But there is widespread frustration over poor public services, rampant corruption and high unemployment, as well as the persistent violence, and because he is unlikely to win a majority on his own, the premier will need the support of coalition partners to stay in office.
Read more on:    nuri al-maliki  |  iraq
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Wine
 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.