I’m thinking about doing a daily update on what’s happening in Iraq, mostly to in some miniscule way address the fact that American media has mostly ignored the rising violence and instability there. Our media isn’t equipped to cover international news anymore, particularly not in multiple places at once, so between Syria and Egypt they’re already overburdened. But if Iraq continues to deteriorate, it may very well destabilize the entire Middle East, or, rather, magnify the destabilizing effect of the Syrian conflict. I’m not sure you can separate what’s happening in Iraq from what’s happening in Syria; this is a region-wide push by Sunni tribes, backed by Gulf money and led by extremist jihadis, to assert themselves against sectarian rivals who run both nations. There are enormous implications in this situation for American policy with respect to Syria, because the more aid we provide Syria’s rebellious Sunnis, the more we may be helping to destabilize Iraq’s Shi’a government.
Friday’s violence took 21 lives, most of them apparently Shi’a:
At least 21 people have been killed and several wounded in latest attacks targeting Shias across Iraq.
Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said an improvised bomb exploded inside a Shia mosque in Dujail, 60km north of Baghdad, killing ten people and wounding at least 25 on Thursday night.
In a separate attack, two car bombs exploded in a market in the town of Ythrib in Salahadin province on Friday, killing ten people and wounding 18.
Another bomb near a Shia mosque in the largely Shia Turkmen town of Tuz Kharmatu, south of Kirkuk, killed one person and wounded six.
EDIT (9:05 PM) More violence, a story that I missed earlier:
A suicide bomber detonated his explosives a cafe in northern Iraq has killed at least 38 people and injuring dozens more.
The blast in the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk tore through the cafe where people had gathered on Friday after breaking their fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
It is the latest in a string of bloody attacks that have hit Iraq over the start of the holy month.
Kirkuk is rich in oil and lies on the front line of a dispute between the Shia-led central government in Baghdad and ethnic Kurds who want the city to be incorporated into their autonomous region in the north of the country.