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Iraq Teeters On The Edge Of Civil War

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

It was two years and four months ago that the last American troops marched out of Iraq.  After most of a decade and more than $2 trillion spent there.  After nearly 4500 American deaths, and more than 32,000 Americans wounded.  After an Iraqi death toll so big it’s still being debated.  After all that, right now Iraq is on the verge of civil war.  Some say it’s effectively there.  Fallujah and Ramadi overrun with insurgents.  Al Qaeda back, and trouble north, south, east and west.  Bombings in Baghdad.  Syria’s upheaval bleeding in.  This hour On Point:  the new trouble in Iraq.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ned Parker, Baghdad bureau chief for Reuters. (@nedmparker1)

Lukman Faily, Iraqi ambassador to the United States. (@FailyLukman)

Sarhang Hamasaeed, senior program officer for the Middle East and Africa at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Denise Natali, senior fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Reuters: Islamist militants kill 30 in attacks around Iraq — “Suspected Sunni Muslim militants killed at least 30 people around Iraq on Thursday including 12 soldiers in an assault on a remote army base in the north, deepening insecurity with a national election just two weeks away. Sectarian bloodshed has increased since the Shi’ite Muslim-led Baghdad government began an offensive against insurgents, some of them affiliated with al Qaeda, dug in around Falluja and Ramadi in the western province of Anbar.”

New York Times: Iraq Shuts Down the Abu Ghraib Prison, Citing Security Concerns — “In a statement, the Justice Ministry said it had moved 2,400 prisoners to other high-security prisons in central and northern Iraq, adding that Abu Ghraib’s location — west of central Baghdad and on the edge of insurgent-controlled areas of Anbar Province — had become a ‘hot zone.'”

The Wall Street Journal: Tensions Percolate Ahead of Iraqi Election — “Over the past four years, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has overseen a gridlocked Parliament, contended with renewed sectarian conflict and made a host of political enemies. But when Iraqis go to the polls on April 30 for the first parliamentary elections since U.S. forces left in late 2011, they are expected to reward the 63-year-old Shiite politician with a third four-year stint.”

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