SoS Clinton in Iraq as Iraqi Reconciliation Falters
by Charles Lemos, Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 11:09:42 PM EDT
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Baghdad for a one day visit. Her visit comes on the heels of recent violence that has claimed 148 lives including Iranian Shi'ites on a pilgrimage. The Secretary of State was preceded in Baghdad by the arrival of veteran US diplomat Christopher Hill as the new US ambassador to Iraq. His nomination has been delayed by Republicans who claimed he lacked Middle East experience but were really more about payback for his handling of negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.
Although violence in Iraq is at its lowest point since 2003, Secretary Clinton and Ambassador arrived in Iraq at a delicate moment after back-to-back suicide bombings killed 60 people outside the most important Shiite shrine in Baghdad. Those attacks came after Iraq on Thursday was rocked by its most deadly violence in more than a year when 88 people were killed by suicide bombers in Baghdad and Muqdadiyah, north of the Iraqi capital. More on Secretary Clinton's visit from the New York Times.
Iraq has been in the rear-view mirror for quite some time but unfortunately stability and peace remain elusive. In recent weeks and quietly at least in the American press there has been an uptick in violence in Iraq. Most worrisome is the situation in Kirkuk, an oil-rich province, where the Kurds and the Iraqi state seem on a collision course. The video below is from Al Jazeera and examines Iraq's efforts to achieve a national reconciliation.