April in Iraq: Deadliest in 7 Months

Contrary to popular belief, the War in Iraq continues.  As U.S. forces make preparations to begin their withdrawal from Iraqi cities next month, death tolls are back on the rise.  The Anbar Awakening, Sons of Iraq, Concerned Local Citizens, or whatever other term is being used to describe the Sunni Iraqis that the U.S. government were paying to not shoot at U.S. soldiers, have recently come into clashes with the forces of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s Shiite-majority government.

The Associated Press reports:

At least 18 U.S. soldiers died in April, a sharp increase from March’s total of nine — the lowest since the war began in March 2003.

The deaths come as a series of deadly bombings in recent weeks has raised concerns that insurgents are stepping up their efforts to re-ignite sectarian bloodshed and derail security gains that have brought overall violence to its lowest levels in recent years.

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives Friday near a large restaurant on the reservoir by the Mosul dam, killing five Iraqis and wounding at least 10, according to the U.S. military.

With the political situation between the Shiite majority and Sunni minority still largely unsettled, the undetermined status of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk — claimed by both the Sunnis and Kurds — and the desire of the remaining Al Qaeda elements in Iraq to see the United States military continue to bog itself down in an un-winnable quagmire; Iraq seems primed for an escalation of violence.  How this will effect the scheduled troop drawdown still remains to be seen.

As a side note:  despite the Obama administration’s claims of greater openness and transparency, the release of the casualty figures followed the time-honored Washington tradition of releasing bad news at the end of the day on a Friday — ensuring that the chances a majority of the American people will see them are between slim and none.

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