Top of the Agenda: Iraq Sectarian Violence Escalates
At least twelve people were killed by bomb blasts in Iraq (DailyStar) just a day after more than seventy died in attacks on majority Shiites. More than two hundred people have been killed in the past week as Sunni-Shiite tensions fueled by the civil war in neighboring Syria threaten to plunge Iraq into a sectarian war. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced plans to change the country's security strategy (AFP) in response to the growing violence, and would discuss the overhaul at a cabinet meeting Tuesday.
"Some veteran observers, like former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, view the current period as a return to the conditions of 2006 and 2007, when Iraq plunged into civil war-like violence. But there is an alternative comparison that may hold at least as much weight -- namely, the period beginning in 2003, when the international coalition's mistakes created the opening for Iraq's insurgent groups to grow in the first place," writes Michael Knight in Foreign Policy.
"Almost two years after the official U.S. withdrawal, the Maliki government continues to demonstrate a decided lack of interest in offering the country's once dominant Sunni majority a significant enough share of power to drain the most important cause of the ongoing sectarian conflict," Mark LeVine writes in this op-ed for al-Jazeera.
"One would assume that the Iraqi Interior Ministry's Criminal Evidence Directorate would take charge of the scene upon its arrival, in order to collect evidence pertaining to the vehicles that bore the explosives, the type of explosive devices used, the remains of the suicide bomber, any photographs that have been taken and any other evidence that might prove essential to discovering the identities of those who planned and carried out the attack. However, chaos and frantic activity usually prevail at the scene, and much of the evidence that might limit the scope of these terrorist acts is either ignored, contaminated or destroyed," writes Mushreq Abbas in al-Monitor.
Secretary of State John Kerry began a visit to Oman, Jordan, and Israel to promote peace talks (AP) between Syrian rebels and President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
ISRAEL: Israel fired a Tamuz missile into Syria (Ynetnews) after repeated gunfire from Syria hit an Israeli army patrol in the Golan Heights, damaging an army vehicle, the Israeli military reported.
M23 Rebels Attack Army in Eastern Congo
Rebels from the M23 movement, a Tutsi-led group believed to be backed by Rwanda, attacked an army position north of Goma in Eastern Congo (AP), a military official said. The rebels overran Goma last year, with international pressure stopping their advance.
UGANDA: At least two Ugandan newspapers were raided by police and two radio stations were taken off the air after reporting that President Yoweri Museveni, due to step down in 2016, is grooming his son (BBC) as successor.
Emergency crews and volunteers searched for survivors of a fierce tornado (NYT) that ravaged parts of Oklahoma City and its suburbs, killing at least 91 people and wounding at least 145 others, 70 of them children.