Friday, May 31, 2013

Middle East: Iraq ‘ready to explode’

The intensifying violence in Iraq is “ready to explode”
UN - 30 May 2013 – The intensifying violence in Iraq is “ready to explode” and may re-ignite widespread sectarian strife unless the country’s leaders take immediate action, the top United Nations envoy there warned today amid the latest wave of deadly attacks.

A wave of deadly bombings struck the capital, Baghdad, today, while the governor of Anbar province reportedly escaped an assassination attempt when bombs exploded near his convoy, injuring four of his bodyguards. This follows a number of bombings in Baghdad on Monday that killed more than 50 people.

Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), condemned the attack against the governor’s convoy.

In a news release issued in Baghdad, he also voiced his dismay at the horrific toll of lives lost following the “new criminal wave of attacks against innocent civilians,” particularly targeting the capital.

“Systemic violence is ready to explode at any moment if all Iraqi leaders do not engage immediately to pull the country out of this mayhem,” Mr. Kobler stated, reiterating the call he made on the country’s leaders earlier this week.

Yesterday, in an exchange of views with European parliamentarians, Mr. Kobler voiced serious concerns over the heightened level of violence in Iraq and the dangers of the country falling back into sectarian strife, if decisive action is not taken by its political leaders.

“The country stands at a crossroads,” he stated, calling for a stronger European Union role in dealing with the developments unfolding in the country, and for increased interaction with the Iraqi Council of Representatives.