NPR logo Iraq Bombings Show Sunnis Opposed To Shia Rule Can Still Make Big Trouble

Iraq Bombings Show Sunnis Opposed To Shia Rule Can Still Make Big Trouble

Wednesday's multiple bombings in Iraq which killed nearly 100 and injured several hundred more are evidence that Sunni Muslim guerrillas remain alive, well armed with explosives and defiant on the issue of Shiite control of the nation that for decades was Sunni-led.

That, at least, is Juan Cole's take on the bombings. In addition to being a University of Michigan professor and Middle East expert, Cole maintains the popular Informed Comment blog.

He spoke with All Things Considered host Robert Siegel Wednesday. Here's part of their discussion:

ROBERT: Professor Cole, what did today's bombings and the choice of targets say to you?

COLE: Well, they say that the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement which will not accept the dominance of Iraq by Shiites and Kurds is still active, is still well supplied by high explosives, it still able to coordinate and it's still very very determined.

According to Cole, some of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's actions and statements betrayed cockiness, like the removal of U.S.-installed checkpoints that had made it more difficult for bombers to deliver their deadly cargo.

But it's not like the U.S. military, which departed Iraqi cities and towns earlier this summer, was able to stop all the bombings either. And, indeed, violence dropped in July by a third after U.S. forces handed over security in urban areas to Iraqi security forces.

Still, the spectacular bombings were a sure sign, according to Cole, that:

There are Sunni Arab cells that are not reconciled to the new government and the new government is not reconciled to them.