Surging Bloodshed Undercut Iraq's Oil-Fueled Economy: Two years after U.S. forces withdrew, almost-daily bombings and suicide attacks scar weddings, funerals and cafes, as al-Qaeda-linked groups attack Shiite targets. The assaults have killed more than 5,000 people this year, levels that haven’t been seen since 2008 and almost double 2010’s toll, according to the United Nations.Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who leads a Shiite-dominated government, blames Sunnis for the violence. Larger forces are at work, with spillover from neighboring Syria, where the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad is a magnet for Sunni extremists funded by Gulf nations intent on reversing Shiite Iran’s influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.“Iraq and Syria are the battlefields of a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” said Harith Hasan
Mass executions on the rise in Iraq as total breakdown approaches
Sixty-eight death sentences were carried out in 2011, according to Amnesty International. The 42 hanged this week amounted to almost a third of the total number the campaign group said were executed in all of 2012. More than 6,000 people have been killed in attacks across Iraq so far this year, as Sunni Islamist insurgents including al Qaeda regain momentum.