ISIS Terrorist Attacks in Baghdad Amid Continued Political Chaos
More than 90 dead in multiple attacks.
More than 90 people have been killed in a string of terrorist attacks in Baghdad for which the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility, CNN reports. A car bombing in the Shiite neighborhood Sadr City killed more than 60, and a suicide bomber in another Shiite neighborhood killed at least 17.
There have been several terrorist attacks in Iraq for which ISIS claimed responsibility, including in and near Baghdad and elsewhere in the country, including an attack earlier this month deep in the majority Shi'ite south of the country.
The attacks come as Iraqi, U.S., and allied forces continue to attempt to retake Mosul from ISIS. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is in turmoil. In late March, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi tried to submit a new cabinet in late March, consisting of technocrats who were not affiliated with the various political parties in Iraq's parliament, in an attempt to tackle government corruption. Amid the crisis, Vice President Joe Biden called the prime minister, noting "ongoing U.S. efforts to mobilize assistance for Iraq's economic recovery."
Writing in The New York Times last month, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilizad noted that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and other activists had spent months "calling for a range of reforms, including shrinking the size of government, improving services, cutting wasteful spending and fighting corruption," though al-Sistani did not back al-Abadi's cabinet move.
Al-Abadi and the United Nations warned last month that the political chaos surrounding anti-corruption attempts would benefit ISIS. "The conflict has crippled parliament and could obstruct the work of the government, impacting the heroic operations to free our cities and villages (from Islamic State)," the prime minister insisted in April.
Last weekend, protesters stormed the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, where the seat of Iraqi government is, briefly occupying the parliament building and demanding a vote on a revised list of cabinet appointments, which included nominees affiliated with the various political parties. The parliament failed again yesterday to vote on the cabinet appointments—a quorum of a simple majority of members of parliament was not met.