Shia pilgrims heading for the Kadhimiya shrine will throng the streets of Baghdad tomorrow in what is described as the first major security challenge for the Iraqi security forces since the June 30 scaling down of American presence in Iraqi cities.
As McClatchy reminds us, insurgents have often targeted the pilgrimage:
Four years ago on the same anniversary, about 1,000 pilgrims died in a stampede on a bridge, set off by a rumor that a suicide bomber stalked the pilgrims. The bridge has only just reopened. On April 24 this year, during another pilgrimage to the shrine, two suicide bombers infiltrated despite the checkpoints and killed 60 pilgrims, including 25 Iranians.
Meanwhile, the Kurds and the Maliki government are “closer to war than at any time since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003”, The Washington Post quotes Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani as saying.
That war will not come as a surprise to anyone following Iraq, but no matter how bloody it gets, it will be a sideshow to a world that has moved on to obsess with other things.