Foreign Policy Blogs

Twin blasts in Baghdad (again) and the status of the next Iraq estimate

The death toll from a Thursday evening blasts in Baghdad has risen to 68 with over 120 wounded, according to Al Jazeera English. The dual bombs were set off in a crowded market, and no one has yet claimed responsibility. They were set off one right after another, with a New York Times piece quoting witnesses as saying that the first bomb was hidden in a trash can, with the second possibly originating from a suicide vest.

Walter Pincus and Karen DeYoung have written an excellent piece in Washington Post called “Officials Lean Toward Keeping Next Iraq Assessment Secret“, in which Director of National Intelligence Mitch McConnell writes his recommendation to Senator John Warner (R-VA) that the next Iraq report be kept classified. It is to be presented in April before Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testify before Congress on the state of the Iraq war. With the previous assessments from intelligence agencies having massive coverage from the media, this may be a way for the administration to create a buffer between them and the public before making their final Iraq decisions now at the end of their tenure. Two further estimates are due by fall on the state of the Afghanistan war and the 'terrorist threat to the homeland’.

According to an AFP report picked up by Lebanon's Daily Star, women are bearing the brunt of violence in Iraq according to ‘Women for Women International‘, womens’ rights group. 64% of women surveyed by the organization have reported increased amounts of violence against them in the past five years. Many more women are being threatened because of leaving their homes without wearing the veil. Iraq's Minister for Womens’ Rights (a Kurd) has stated that the greatest threat for women comes from extremist Islamic groups.