World View: New Sectarian Bombings Kill 86 in Baghdad, Iraq

This morning's key headlines from

  • New sectarian bombings kill 86 in Baghdad, Iraq
  • Obama, under international pressure, may be forced to back down on Syria

New sectarian bombings kill 86 in Baghdad, Iraq

Car wreckage in Sadr City on Wednesday
Car wreckage in Sadr City on Wednesday

A series of car bombings and some gunfight attacks across Baghdad, in mostly Shia areas, on Wednesday killed 86 people and wounded 263. The numbers of these casualties from these attacks have been increasing steadily every month, reaching over 1,000 deaths in July, ever since American forces withdrew from Iraq in December, 2011, fulfilling a campaign promise by President Barack Obama. The conflict in Syria has inflamed the entire region, including Iraq, but Iraq is by far the worst hit country outside of Syria itself. BBC and Reuters

Obama, under international pressure, may be forced to back down on Syria

Britain's prime minister David Cameron has been forced to delay consideration of Britain's participation in military intervention in Syria because of deep public opposition. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called for delays, and U.N./Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that any military action would be illegal without Security Council approval.

President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that no decision had been made yet, despite very sharp rhetoric that implies that some military action is required:

"I have not made a decision. I have gotten options from our military, had extensive discussions with my national security team."

I have not made a decision, but I think it's important that if, in fact, we make a choice to have repercussions for the use of chemical weapons, then the Assad regime, which is involved in a civil war, trying to protect itself, will have received a pretty strong signal that in fact, it better not do it again. And that doesn't solve all the problems inside of Syria, and you know, it doesn't, obviously, end the death of innocent civilians inside of Syria.

We have looked at all the evidence, and we do not believe the opposition possessed nuclear weapons on -- or chemical weapons of that sort. We do not believe that, given the delivery systems, using rockets, that the opposition could have carried out these attacks. We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out. And if that's so, then there need to be international consequences,

We do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they are held accountable."

Many analysts and politicians, including a number of Democrats, are expressing concern that when President Obama talks about "a pretty strong signal," that he's planning to just lob a few missiles into Syria, leaving Syria's president Bashar al-Assad to declare himself a hero for having survived an American attack.

During the 2007-08 presidential election campaign, both Barack Obama and Joe Biden were vitriolically critical of President George Bush, and Biden even said that he might call for Bush's impeachment. But now Obama and Biden are doing exactly the things that they criticized Bush for, suggesting that they're naively stumbling from one foreign policy action to the next, based on the latest poll results, with no underlying principles, and no clue what's going on in the world.

Others are suggesting that the apparent uncertainty and confusion in the administration is simply a ploy to mislead the Syrians and Russians, so they'll be unprepared for a planned surprise attack. We'll see. BBC and CNN

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