FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Target: Hoshyar Zebari

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:

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

January 23, 2019
Paul Street
Time for the U.S. Yellow Vests
Charles McKelvey
Popular Democracy in Cuba
Kenn Orphan
The Smile of Class Privilege
Leonard Peltier
The History Behind Nate Phillips’ Song
Kenneth Surin
Stalled Brexit Goings On
Jeff Cohen
The System’s Falling Apart: Were the Dogmatic Marxists Right After All?
Cira Pascual Marquina
Chavez and the Continent of Politics: a Conversation with Chris Gilbert
George Ochenski
Turning Federal Lands Over to the States and Other Rightwing Fantasies
George Wuerthner
Forest Service Ignores Science to Justify Logging
Raouf Halaby
In the Fray: Responses to Covington Catholic High
Kim C. Domenico
No Saviors But Ourselves; No Disobedience Without Deeper Loyalty
Ted Rall
Jury Trial? You Have No Right!
Michael Doliner
The Pros and Cons of Near Term Human Extinction
Lee Ballinger
Musical Unity
Elliot Sperber
The Ark Builders
January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail