MESOP Iraq Feature: Protests Grow as 40+ Killed in Latest ISIS Bombing

Protests against Iraq’s al-Abadi Government are growing, while at least 40 people have been killed in the latest Islamic State suicide bombing.

9 July 2016 – By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – Three suicide bombers dressed in military uniforms opened fire on worshipers at a Shia shrine in Balad, 90 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad, late Thursday. Two detonated their explosives at the gate of the Sayyid Mohammed mosque, while the third was killed before he could trigger his device.The Health Ministry said on Friday that 74 people were wounded.The attack came five days after an ISIS car bomb killed at least 292 people in the Karrada district of Baghdad, the single deadliest attack on civilians since the 2003 Iraq War.As protesters demonstrated in Baghdad against the Government, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi dismissed the head of security for the capital. A “senior security official” said:

The sacking of the Baghdad Operations Commander was due to accumulated mistakes that cannot be overlooked.It is a difficult decision and came at a critical time because we are engaged in a tough battle with Daesh, but it had to be made because of the catastrophic failure.

The official said the Karrada bomb passed “dozens of checkpoints” as it was brought into the capital.The Interior Minister, Mohammed Ghabban, resigned on Tuesday. He blamed the bombing on a lack of communication between the various forces in charge of security in Baghdad.

“These People Are Not Fit to Lead Sheep”

The changes in personnel are unlikely to satisfy protesters.

“Our blood became cheap in Karrada and Balad,” said Hadi Talib, 40, as he marched from a main square in Baghdad to the bomb site in the commercial area of Baghdad. He said demonstrations felt futile, however. Instead “the solution is to protest inside the Green Zone” — the fortified area of central Baghdad with Government ministries and Parliament — and burn it like they are burning our cities and killing our sons”.Another marcher, Hussein Ali, 34, said “civil disobedience” was the only answer: I wish Saddam wasn’t removed. I was against him, but now I understand why he was executing people like those who are in power now. These people are not fit to lead sheep.

Iraq’s leading Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, on Friday criticized the Government’s failure to deal with ISIS.  In his weekly Friday sermon, read on his behalf in the holy city of Karbala, Sistani said, “Complacency among corrupt and failed (officials) at the expense of the blood and souls of innocent civilians is unbearable and needs to be stopped.”