TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Anger boiling over in Iraq

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:09 p.m.
 

BAGHDAD — With Sunni gunmen beginning to confront the Shiite-led government's security forces head-on in northern and western Iraq, fears are growing fast of a return to full-scale sectarian fighting that could plunge the country into a broader battle merged with the Syrian civil war across the border.

With more than 100 people killed over the past two days, it's shaping up to be the most pivotal moment for Iraq since U.S. combat troops withdrew in December 2011.

“Everybody has the feeling that Iraq is becoming a new Syria,” Talal Younis, the 55-year-old owner of a currency exchange in the northern city of Mosul, said on Wednesday. “We are heading into the unknown. ... I think that civil war is making a comeback.”

A crackdown by government forces at a protest site in the northern town of Hawija on Tuesday triggered the latest unrest.

It has enraged much of the country's restive Sunni Arab minority, adding fuel to an already smoldering opposition movement and spawning a wave of bold follow-up clashes.

It is too soon to speculate whether the rage will lead to widespread insurrection in the largely Sunni cities of Mosul and Ramadi or, more significantly, spiral into open sectarian warfare in the streets of Baghdad.

The Iraqi capital is far more tightly controlled by security forces than the remote towns hit by the latest unrest, but insurgents continue to launch regular, well-coordinated waves of attacks inside Baghdad.

Outright threats that all but disappeared as the last bout of sectarian fighting waned in 2008 are making a comeback too, like the leaflets signed by a Shiite militant group that began turning up on the doorsteps of Sunni households in Baghdad earlier this year.

The circumstances of the Hawija bloodshed remain murky, but there is outrage over the government's handling of the unrest and the fact that most of the 23 killed at the site were among the Sunni demonstrators.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Ukrainians told to halt joint drills with U.S.
  2. Boko Haram attack kills 68, targets children in Nigeria
  3. ISIS ravages centuries-old archaeological site in Iraq
  4. U.S. Ambassador to South Korea stable after facial surgery for knife wounds
  5. Ex-wife of late Argentine prosecutor: Death was a homicide
  6. Fugitive on U.S. most-wanted terror list held by Somalia
  7. Netanyahu claims moral obligation to speak
  8. Teacher charged with drug smuggling in Japan
  9. Scientists concerned seas will rise, reshaping coastlines
  10. American politicians hail travel ban by Venezuela’s socialist President Maduro
  11. Iran’s role against ISIS in Tikrit stokes U.S. unease over Tehran influence, Sunni-Shiite tensions