Saturday, June 20, 2009

Suicide bomber kills 25 or more near Kirkuk - while Iran explodes

Remember Iraq, where we've more or less declared victory because the Surge worked? Well, even as US troops pull out of Iraq's cities, the sectarian and ethnic fissures are nowhere close to mending. Especially in the north, where tensions between Arabs and Kurds (and, in this instance, Turkmen) about land and oil continue to erupt into violence. Today, at least 32 killed, more than 100 hurt (and "hurt") is an umbrella that covers a lot of injuries, many of them maiming and life-ruining, or life-threatening.

Iran, however, is getting most of our attention, with thousands demonstrating against the regime, riot police out in force with tear gas, water cannons, and truncheons; and the Wall Street Journal and other neocons (or even so-called moderates like David Brooks on last evening's PBS News Hour) hammering Mr. Obama for not coming out more strongly for the demonstrators. IMO, he has indeed shown his support; but beyond that line he dare not tread lest in doing so he legitimize even harsher actions against them. Iran needs to work this out without the US jumping in to complicate things. And remember that this is not simply a matter of angry young students blowing off steam. The opposition camp includes some stalwarts of the 1979 Iranian revolution (none moreso that Mr. Mousavi himself) as well as highly respected ayatollahs, some of whom have earned much greater respect as learned and pious scholars than has the Leader and supreme guardian, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

And if you don't believe that the stakes here in re the future of Iran and its relations with Israel are pretty high, take note of this analysis via the Tehran Bureau.

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