BAGHDAD (AP) — An onslaught of bombings and shootings killed 93 people across Iraq on Monday, officials said, in the nation’s deadliest day so far this year.
The attacks come days after the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq declared a new offensive and warned in a statement that the militant group is reorganizing in areas from which it retreated before U.S. troops left the country last December.
Al-Qaida has been seeking to re-assert its might in the security vacuum left by the departing Americans, seizing on Baghdad’s fragmented government and the surge of Sunni rebels in neighboring Syria to sow instability across Iraq.
U.S. and Iraqi officials insist that the terror network’s Iraqi wing, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, is nowhere as strong as it was when the nation threatened to fall into civil war between 2006 and 2008, and the Iraqi government is better established.
Previous al-Qaida offensives have failed to push the country into civil war, largely because Shiite militias in recent years have refused to join in with the kind of tit-for-tat killings that marked Iraq’s descent six years ago. Additionally, for all its weaknesses, the Iraqi government now holds more authority than it did during those dark years, and, by and large, citizens have no desire to return down that path.
Still, the militant group appears to be banking on Iraq’s fragility in its campaign to throw it into permanent chaos. Sectarian tensions have risen due to a political crisis stemming from terror charges the Shiite-led government has filed against one of the country’s vice presidents, who is one of Iraq’s top Sunni officials. He says they are politically inspired.
It’s a situation allows some different interpretations. Need to find more comprehensive analysis.