A wave of sectarian violence in Iraq has deliberately inflamed tension as the country’s political leaders fail to address the rising crisis at the heart of Iraq’s government. Several suicide bombers killed 33 people in a wave of attacks designed to exacerbate the deepening ethnic and sectarian divisions in Iraq so as to undermine Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government.
One suicide bomber blew himself up outside the offices of Kurdistan Democratic Party in downtown Kirkuk in northern Iraq last Wednesday. Another car bomb exploded close by the same day, killing two more people. And in Tuz Khormato, near Kirkuk on the disputed border of the Kurdish region, yet another car bomb struck the local headquarters of the Kurdish security forces, killing five.
It is easy to blame Sunni insurgents, such as Al Qaida’s Iraq branch, since they have frequently used such tactics, but not all the violence last week was targeted at Kurds. A bomb went off in Fallujah at the funeral of Ifan Saadoun Al Issawi, a prominent Sunni politician. In Baghdad, gunmen killed three policemen and a bomb killed two other police officers.
It is time for the political leaders to offer a more coherent way forward. In this, Maliki needs to re-start an active dialogue with Sunni and Kurdish leaders to re-establish the government’s credibility as a government for all Iraqis.