Thursday, May 05, 2011

Assassinations in Iraq

The assassins strike quietly, often just after dark, as Iraq’s political and military leaders speed home surrounded by armed guards.

The dead in April alone included generals, police commanders, a deputy minister and the head of Iraq’s tax agency. The wounded included a member of parliament, a judge and the head of the national theater, survivors of attacks on their motorcades.

Among 50 targeted killings last month, most were carried out by gunmen using silenced weapons, according to Iraq’s Interior Ministry, which oversees the country’s police forces.

Assassinations are not an entirely new feature of Iraq’s political landscape. But a stealthy string of killings that began last month has given them new prominence, shaking Iraqis’ confidence in their government’s ability to protect them and raising questions about the country’s security just months before the last U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw.