Written by Katin for IPCRESS Blog.
On the morning of June 20th, Iraq’s Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, gave a speech to a small crowd in Baghdad. Maliki’s message was for people to prepare for the withdrawal of American forces from the country’s urban areas–a maneuver scheduled to take place by the end of this month. There was a grave tone to Maliki’s words as he warned the group of possible terrorist attacks:
“I and you are sure that many don’t want us to succeed and celebrate this victory,” he said. “They are getting themselves ready to move in the dark to destabilize the situation, but we will be ready for them, God willing.”
The people he was addressing were Turkomen, an ethnic group from northern Iraq. For years, these people have been petitioning the government to establish an autonomous state, and they have been at odds with the Kurds in that region. Still, much of the violence in Iraq has been taking place in urban regions to the South of them, so Maliki’s warning of imminent danger probably held only limited significance for these people.
Strangely enough, just three hours after Maliki uttered those dire words, the suicide bombers attacked a mosque in the Turkomen town of Taza Khurmatu, 10 miles south of Kirkuk. It was the most powerful bomb used so far this year. 80 clay buildings were leveled, over 70 people died, and 200 people were injured. Why “Al Qaeda” decided to attack a town in this rather quiet, rural region of Iraq is a mystery to these people. The attack received brief coverage here in the States and was quickly explained as the work of “Sunni extremists” attacking a “Shiite mosque.” The bizarre coincidence of the Prime Minister having warned a group of Turkomen of such an attack–just three hours previously–was hardly mentioned. However, when we place the event in context with all the other suicide bombings (and their attendant coincidences,) we find that perhaps this wasn’t coincidence at all.