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

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, inmostly Shia areas, on Wednesday killed 86 people and wounded 263. Thenumbers of these casualties from these attacks have been increasingsteadily every month, reaching over 1,000 deaths in July, ever sinceAmerican forces withdrew from Iraq in December, 2011, fulfilling acampaign promise by President Barack Obama. The conflict in Syria hasinflamed the entire region, including Iraq, but Iraq is by far theworst hit country outside of Syria itself. BBC andReuters

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

Britain’s prime minister David Cameron has been forced to delayconsideration of Britain’s participation in military intervention inSyria because of deep public opposition. U.N. Secretary-General BanKi-Moon called for delays, and U.N./Arab League peace envoy LakhdarBrahimi said that any military action would be illegal withoutSecurity Council approval.

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

“I have not made a decision. I have gotten optionsfrom our military, had extensive discussions with my nationalsecurity team.”

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

We have looked at all the evidence, and we do not believe theopposition possessed nuclear weapons on — or chemical weapons ofthat sort. We do not believe that, given the delivery systems,using rockets, that the opposition could have carried out theseattacks. We have concluded that the Syrian government in factcarried these out. And if that’s so, then there need to beinternational consequences,

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

Many analysts and politicians, including a number of Democrats, areexpressing concern that when President Obama talks about “a prettystrong signal,” that he’s planning to just lob a few missiles intoSyria, leaving Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad to declare himself ahero for having survived an American attack.

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

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

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