FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bombers Target Shia Civilians

by PATRICK COCKBURN

 

A bomb in the Baghdad bird market killed 15 people and wounded 55 yesterday in the latest savage bombing aimed at Shia civilians.

Iraqis have always loved song birds and often keep them as pets. They buy and sell them in the Ghazil market, a tattered collection of booths in front of a mosque in the centre of the city. Here canaries, parrots, doves, pigeons, falcons and many other types of bird are on show every Friday morning.

Even by the vicious standards of Baghdad bombers yesterday’s attack was cruelly devised. Police said they believed that the explosives, timer and detonator had been hidden in a cardboard box that the bomber had pierced with air holes so it looked as if it contained birds. It blew up just before 11am when a curfew on vehicles starts, with the aim of protecting people going to the mosques for Friday prayers.

There was blood on the ground where the bomb had gone off. Small birds who survived the blast still chirruped in their cages. Bedraggled black Shia prayer flags hung from buildings. Although Iraqis from all sects attend the market it is in a predominantly Shia neighbourhood.

One by one the landmarks of Baghdad are disappearing, engulfed by the torrent of violence. Not far from Ghazil used to be the al-Muthanabi book market where on a Friday the booksellers would lay their books, often Shakespeare and Dickens, on the ground. But it is now in one of the most dangerous parts of town and is ill-frequented when it takes place at all.

The recent bomb attacks have been directed at areas where large numbers of Shia, usually attending markets, could be caught and killed by the blast. On Monday a bomb in Bab al-Sharji market killed at least 88 people and wounded 150. The bombs are all part of the sectarian war that is tearing Baghdad apart. The Sunni slaughter Shia by indiscriminate bombings while the Shia kill Sunni largely through picking them up at checkpoints, often controlled by Shia.

Between 20 and 40 bodies are found in the street every day, although there has been a slight fall recently probably because the main Shia militia, Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army, wants to avoid direct confrontation with the US army. It has also decided to deprive the US of a target by supporting the security plan for Baghdad. Sadrist ministers this week returned to their jobs ending a boycott which began when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met President Bush without calling for US withdrawal.

PATRICK COCKBURN is the author of ‘The Occupation: War, resistance and daily life in Iraq‘, published by Verso in October.

 

 

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
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
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?
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