Inside Story
Iraq: Back to chaos?
A wave of deadly attacks has raised fears of a deepening sectarian divide in a country sliding into political chaos.
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2012 13:43

Four explosions ripped through Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, on Friday. Earlier, two Shia pilgrims were killed in Baghdad by roadside bombs.

The wave of violence comes after a series of explosions killed at least 84 people on Thursday. The deadliest attack in Iraq in more than a year hit Shia pilgrims heading to the holy city of Karbala, killing nearly 50 people.

These latest deadly strikes have now raised fears of a deepening sectarian divide in a country sliding into political chaos.

Is Iraq descending back into deadly chaos? What challenges does Nouri al-Maliki's government face? And can the politicians agree on any kind of reconciliation before it is too late?

Inside Story, with presenter Darren Jordon, discusses with guests: Saad Almutalabi, a former adviser to the Iraqi government who is also the secretary-general of the Iraqi Free Youth Movement; Gala Riani, a senior Middle East analyst for the business advisory firm IHS Global Insight; and Fanar Haddad, a visiting lecturer at Queen Mary University of London and the author of the book Sectarianism in Iraq: Antagonistic Visions of Unity.

"Certainly the attacks bare the hallmark of al-Qaeda in Iraq, who have carried out these types of attacks very much in the past, very much of the same nature. The fact that it was a very sectarian target also would  indicate that it could be them. And really they are the ones who would seek to benefit from the current political stalemate. At this point there is quite a lot of concern about where Iraq is heading. The most recent political crisis has heightened these sectarian tensions and there is a lot of fear, I think, on the ground, but also from the outside, the international community, about where Iraq is heading."

Gala Riani, a Middle East analyst with IHS Global Insight

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