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.

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail