by Florian Flade
Just two days before Christmas numerous bomb explosion hit the predominately Shiite districts of Iraq´s capital Baghdad killing at least 69 people, wounding 180 others – most of them Shiite civilians. The sixteen different attacks took place only about two weeks after U.S. forces officially withdrew from the country.
Immediately blame was on Sunni militants linked to Al-Qaida. Today the “Islamic State of Iraq”, an umbrella organization which de facto represents Al-Qaida, has claimed responsibility for the December 22th Baghdad bombings. A written statement was released and posted in several Jihadi Internet forums.
The multiple attacks, Al-Qaida claims, were carried out “to support the weak Sunnis in the prisons of the apostates and to retaliate for the captives who were executed by the Safavid (Persian) government”. “Special operations”, as Al-Qaida calls the attacks, have allegedly targeted headquarters of the Al-Sadr Militia (Al-Qaida calls them “Army of the Devil”).
“The Iranian project has shown its ugly face”, Al-Qaida´s statement describes the Shiite-dominated government of Iraq. The terrorist group promises to punish the government in the future.
The December 22th bombing series is a clear signal that Al-Qaida – although it is weakened – is very much able to carry out coordinated suicide bombings on a large scale. America´s withdrawal from Iraq will activate and encourage those political elements in the region which are fearful of a strengthened Iran and a Shiite regime in Iraq that is getting its orders from Tehran. Sunni regional powers like the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia might support the Anti-Shiite elements – like Al-Qaida – in a form that will cause the civil war in Iraq to explode intensify.