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Fresh outbreak of violence in Baghdad -

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Fresh outbreak of violence in Baghdad

The World Today - Tuesday, 7 April , 2009 12:42:00

Reporter: Michael Edwards

PETER CAVE: Baghdad has been shaken by a series of car bombings which have killed at least 34
people and wounded 140.

It's not totally clear which group is carrying out the attacks.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has blamed Al Qaeda.

Analysts say the violence is the result of a dispute between a militant group known as The
Awakening and the Iraqi Government.

Michael Edwards has this report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Just when it seemed Iraq's security situation was getting better, violence yet
again threatens the stability of the fledgling democracy.

A series of car bombings has rocked mainly Shiite areas of the country's capital, Baghdad.

At least 34 people have died.

In one attack, 10 were killed and 65 were wounded when a booby trapped car exploded in a market
area in the Shiite district of Sadr City.

Another carbomb in the mixed Sunni/Shiite district of Allawi killed six people.

The United States military is blaming Al Qaeda.

But Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has blamed the attacks on Al Qaeda as well as supporters
of the Baath Party.

VOICEOVER FOR NOURI AL-MALIKI: The supporters of this bad system, in cohorts with Al-Qaeda, have
sowed death in our beloved city of Baghdad. These attacks unveil the bloodthirsty face of this
party.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Recently, government forces have clashed with a group known as The Awakening,
which seems to have broken off from what were known as The Awakening Councils.

These were groups of former insurgents recruited by the United States to fight Al Qaeda several
years ago.

It's an arrangement which has achieved a level of success, with the security situation improving
since 2007.

But now the largely Shiite Government is in conflict with the mostly Sunni Awakening over a broken
deal to integrate the group into the Iraqi military.

Dr Michael McKinley is an expert on Iraq from the Australian National University.

MICHAEL MCKINLEY: The plan all along was for the Awakening soldiers, these mercenaries, to
gradually be either integrated into the new Iraqi army or to get some sort of employment.

And many were suspicious and very sceptical that that would happen.

That's what seems to be the case now.

The Al-Maliki Government is not so interested in keeping them onside and they're reacting
accordingly.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: The United States military says the attacks bear all the hallmarks of an Al Qaeda
campaign to instigate sectarian violence.

Whichever group is to blame, it's certain the situation is certain to be a test of the political
power of the Al-Maliki government.

Michael McKinley says he isn't confident the government the ability to deal with the problem.

MICHAEL MCKINLEY: Well, it depends on how much confidence you want to place on the Al-Maliki
Government.

I don't think he represents anything like a head of state of a unified country.

I think Iraq now is quite clearly fractured into at least three and we shouldn't really be
disappointed if we see more and more trouble in the near future.

The writ of the Al-Maliki Government simply doesn't run into certain parts of the country.

PETER CAVE: Dr Michael McKinley from the ANU.