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Political fighting blamed for Iraq sectarian violence

Political fighting blamed for Iraq sectarian violence
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The death toll has risen to more than 70 after a wave of bombings in Baghdad on Thursday.

Another 200 were injured in what appears to be around 16 coordinated attacks in the Iraqi capital. Both Sunni and Shi’ite areas were hit.

Many believe the violence is happening because of deteriorating relations between the Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and senior Sunni members of the government.

One Baghdad resident blamed the politicians: “Those who run this country should sit and resolve their political problems. The bombings won’t solve these issues,” he said.

The country is divided into ethnic and sectarian regions, and political infighting along these lines has made it hard for the coalition government to function. The prime minister is Shia, the president Kurdish and the vice-president Sunni.

There was further animosity this week after the prime minister called for the arrest of Sunni vice-president Tareq al-Hashemi, accusing him of running a hit squad.

In addition, Maliki tried to instigate a vote of no confidence in deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, who is also a Sunni.

Iraq’s year-old government is facing the worst violence since it took power, and it comes less than a week after the last American troops left the country.

Mindful of the destabilising effect of political arguments, US officials have been in contact with the Iraqi administration, encouraging them to overcome their differences.

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