March 31st 2013 in Briefings International Relations

The Republic of Iraq is in the throes of a new period of sectarian turmoil, after a series of car bombs targeting Shiite worshipers killed at least nineteen people at mosques in Baghdad and Kirkuk on March 29. These attacks come during a time of soaring tensions between the government of Nouri al-Maliki and political opponents in the Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish communities. Adding to the government’s woes, Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, a major Kurdish figure who has so far kept the peace between his community and the federal government, is still under intensive care in a hospital in Germany after suffering a stroke some months ago. On a potentially positive note for regional stability, the Iraqi government has agreed to tighten security and search flights from Iran to Syria, following US pressure to prevent Iranian weapons from falling into the hands of the Assad regime. (March 29, 2013 – BBC; March 30, 2013 – Al-Jazeera; March 31, 2013 – Daily Star)