FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Target: Hoshyar Zebari

by PATRICK COCKBURN

Baghdad.

Assassins tried to kill Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, yesterday morning by leaving a car packed with explosives on a road where he was about to travel. His guards discovered the bomb shortly before his convoy went past.

The repeated attempts to murder Mr Zebari since he took over as Foreign Minister last year are a back-handed tribute by the insurgents to his effectiveness as the interim Iraqi government’s international spokesman.

“They don’t dare ambush us because they know they will be killed,” he said defiantly in an interview just after the latest attack was foiled. He expected the assassination campaign against government ministers to escalate.

The bomb yesterday was the second attempt on his life in recent months. He shows, with a certain pride, two photographs of another car bomb containing 800kg of explosives that had been intercepted near his house.

The elaborate bomb included white blocks of TNT, a dozen or more 130mm shells and even a torpedo all connected with red electrical wire. “It’s frightening,” he said. “The whole neighbourhood would have been wiped out, not one or two or three houses.”

Mr Zebari, a veteran leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party who fought as a guerrilla for many years against Saddam Hussein in the mountains of Kurdistan, expects the insurgents to try again. He said the number of their operations had dropped from 106 a day to between 60 and 80 since the capture of Fallujah. But, overall, he did not sound optimistic that the level of violence would be much reduced.

He confirmed Dr Iyad Allawi will go to Jordan on Wednesday or close to that date to talk to opponents of the government. But he was quick to add that it was not a conference. The meetings would be with “religious leaders, tribal chiefs and Baathists, though not those on the wanted list”. Most come from the western Iraqi city of Ramadi which after Fallujah is one of the main centres of resistance.

Mr Zebari left no doubt that the Iraqi election would go ahead on 30 January. He said the Iraqi National Security Council, of which he is a member, had met at the weekend and decided the poll must go ahead. “Any postponement, any weakness will benefit our enemies, our opponents.

“There are no guarantees that the security would be better if there was a postponement.” He added with a laugh that there were also no assurances that security would be any better after the election.

The reason why the Sunni party leaders wanted a delay was obvious enough, said the Foreign Minister. They feared a boycott of the poll in Sunni districts which would wipe them out politically. “They are afraid there will be a Shia majority and they are not organised enough,” Mr Zebari said. “They need consensual arrangements with other communities.”

Mr Zebari thought the uprising in Sunni parts of Iraq would fail because it was an attempt by a minority to impose its will. He said “definitely the great majority of the Iraqi people will not tolerate a minority hijacking the country at gunpoint for its own selfish power interests.”

The US is strongly committed to a poll on 30 January. The election was mentioned repeatedly by George Bush as a symbol of the success of his policy of bringing democracy to Iraq. And Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the influential Shia religious leader, has long demanded an election. The US and the interim government do not want to alienate him.

 

Patrick Cockburn is the author of  The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail