Dozens were killed in Baghdad yesterday after a bomb targeted a police station, again highlighting the gaps in security that still remain in the country. The NYT’s Tim Arango reports that Iraqis have become so accustomed to violence over the past decade that there is almost a sort of tunnel vision that disregards it altogether, writing that “Back at the shops, the owners obligingly grumbled about the deficiencies of the security forces and their suspicions that neighboring countries were supporting terrorism here. But mostly they wanted to sell their bread and their tea and cut hair.”
New political bloc
A new secular leftist political bloc is set to contest for power in Iraq, and its proponents are hopeful that it will be successful. As Iraq’s current landscape is made up almost entirely of religious parties with large followings, that will be a tough task, and the most that it will likely pick up are a few seats in parliament. Comprised of the Iraqi Communist party and the National Democratic party, UPI repots that “The parties will join together, along with civil organizations and independent politicians, to form the Alliance of Democratic Powers.”
Iraq has a long history of secular leftist political movements, most notably the Communist party which was very popular around the turn of the last century, and has had a big role in the shaping of Iraqi history. In 1959 young Iraqi nationalist and Ba’ath party members, including Saddam Hussein attempted to assassinate the then prime minister of Iraq Abd al-Karim Qasim after the party had determined that he was colluding too much with the Communists. The assassination and coup attempt by the Ba’ath failed, but the party eventually overthrew Qasim in 1963. This ushered in a brutal dictatorship and crushed leftist secular (and non-secular) political groups like the Iraqi Communist party, killing thousands of members and driving others into hiding.