by our Arab Affairs correspondent
WAVES OF BOMBINGS and resistance attacks swept Iraq last week forcing American foreign minister Hillary Clinton to hold urgent talks with US commanders and puppet government leaders in Baghdad that reflect renewed concern in Washington at the upsurge of violence in recent days.
Hundreds of Iraqi and Iranian pilgrims have died and many more wounded in sectarian bombings that could plunge the occupied Arab country into another deadly round of violence between the rival Shia and Sunni Muslim communities. No one has claimed responsibility for the terror bombings which the puppet regime blame on the Sunni fundamentalist Al Qaeda movement and elements within the “Awakening Councils” militias. But the attacks have been condemned by top Sunni Muslim religious leaders and they, like the Iranians, say the Americans themselves are behind the violence.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Israel and the United States on Saturday for the suicide attacks that left scores of Iranian pilgrims dead.
"The American and Israeli intelligence apparatuses are the number-one accused. .. for the spread of the poisonous seeds of terrorism in Iraq,"Khamenei said in a televised message of condolence to the victims' families.
"Those evil brains and sinful hands that established this blind, unbridled terrorism in Iraq should know that this fire will end up burning them," the Iranian leader added.
Twenty Iranian pilgrims were among at least 65 people killed when two women suicide bombers attacked a Shia shrine in Baghdad last week. Some 80 Iranians were among the 120 people wounded. Another 52 pilgrims were among at least 56 people killed in a suicide attack on a roadside restaurant in Muqdadiyah, north-east of Baghdad.
The Iraqi Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars, a movement which supports the resistance and opposes increased Iranian influence in Iraq, agrees saying that the major purpose of the terror attacks is to further divide the Iraqi people to prolong the occupation.
The Americans in intend to withdraw all their front line troops from Iraq by August 2010 but they still hope to leave a puppet regime in place and have earmarked up to 50,000 military "advisers' to prop it up. But the Maliki government doesn't quite fit the bill.
Though the puppet government has little authority in itself out side the "Green Zone" military compound in Baghdad, it can rely on the support of the sectarian Shia militias who control much of the capital and most of the Shia dominated provinces in the country. Their leaders increasingly look to the Shia government in Iran for guidance and protection and US imperialism's greatest fear is that Iraq will slip out of American hands and into Iran's once the combat troops are gone.
On a broader plane us imperialism is trying to cobble together another reactionary Arab bloc along side Israel to contain Iran in the context of a US-led "settlement" of the Palestinian problem. But that would require the participation of Iraq and it's inconceivable that this would happen with the agreement of the Maliki regime. Attempts to woo some Baathist leaders back into the American camp began following the judicial murder of Saddam Hussein in December 2006.
According to the New York Times American and British officials from a secret unit called the "Force Strategic Engagement Cell" flew to Jordan on l8th April to try to persuade one of Saddam Hussein's top generals – the commander of the final defence of Baghdad in 2003 - to return home on the promise of a top post in the puppet government.
But the Republican Guard commander, General Raad Majid al Hamdani turned them down. After a year of halting talks mediated by the Americans, he said, he concluded that Maliki simply wasn't interested in reconciliation .