A major Sunni Arab bloc Thursday suspended talks with Shiite and Kurdish parties on a new government after scores of Sunni mosques were attacked and dozens of bodies found in a wave of reprisal violence following the bombing of a revered Shiite shrine.
Violence continued Thursday with an attack on a Sunni mosque in Baqouba, where eight Iraqi soldiers were killed in a bombing and nearly a dozen people were wounded.
Faced with the grim prospect of sectarian war, the government extended the curfew in Baghdad and Salaheddin province for two days in the wake of Wednesday's attack on the Askariya shrine in Samarra.
This is bad news on so many levels, I just don't know where to start.
In the last few days we have gotten official confirmation that covert Iraqi government death squads are rounding up, killing, or arresting and torturing sunni Arabs. Now a key religious symbol to the Shi'ia has been destroyed, sparking overt violence against the sunni population.
And we get to play referee.
Over at Baghdad Burning this commentary can be found.
No one went to work today as the streets were mostly closed. The situation isn’t good at all. I don’t think I remember things being this tense- everyone is just watching and waiting quietly. There’s so much talk of civil war and yet, with the people I know- Sunnis and Shia alike- I can hardly believe it is a possibility. Educated, sophisticated Iraqis are horrified with the idea of turning against each other, and even not-so-educated Iraqis seem very aware that this is a small part of a bigger, more ominous plan…
Several mosques have been taken over by the Mahdi militia and the Badir people seem to be everywhere. Tomorrow no one is going to work or college or anywhere.
People are scared and watchful. We can only pray.
Hat tip to bending the third rail