Crisis in Iraq reaches boiling point / Rebels control the main roads in Sleman Beg

Kurdistan Tribune – 25.4.2013 – The crisis in the Sunni-majority areas of Iraq has escalated dramatically this week after troops opened fire on protestors, yesterday and on Monday, killing around 50 people and injuring hundreds. Today at least another 15 died in clashes between government forces and Sunni gunmen who have apparently launched revenge attacks.

Tikrit, Hawija and Sleman Bag have seen massive Sunni demonstrations over the last two weeks. Hawlati  reports that the town of Sleman Beg is in the hands of Sunni rebels and that Anbar city will be joining them, according to local tribe leaders.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) yesterday announced that it is ‘opening its doors’ to injured people who need treatment.

The Peshmarga forces have been put on alert and they have moved some forces to the disputed areas to protect Kurdish inhabitants there. In Kirkuk today an explosion killed and injured dozens of people. The transition from a peaceful uprising to an armed one is what most Iraqis dread, with the danger that it will lead to large-scale sectarian warfare. Unfortunately, the Maliki administration acts like a military junta and inflames the situation. The government of Iraq should respond peaceably to the crisis, without using unnecessary force, and through dialogue and negotiation.