BBC NEWS (UK), AL JAZEERA (Qatar), AP, REUTERS

Worldcrunch

BAGHDAD – A series of bomb attacks killed at least 13 and wounded dozens on Thursday morning in Iraq, in the latest surge of violence sweeping the country, officials told AP.

According to the police, most of the attacks happened in Baghdad, including a car bomb that killed four in the northern Shia district of Binouq, and another bombing at a city center market that killed three, the police told AP.

Attacks also targeted the northern city of Mosul, where at least three policemen died after a man attacked a federal police checkpoint. Al Jazeera reports that as many as eight officers may have died in the attack.

"There has not been a claim of responsibility,” Al Jazeera reporter Jane Arraf said of the attack in Mosul. “But in the past, an al-Qaeda front group has claimed responsibility for attacks on Shia areas and security forces, which they see as illegitimate," she added.

The escalation of violence in recent weeks has raised concerns that the country could slide back to levels of sectarian violence that tore the country apart in 2006 and 2007, the BBC reports.

"We have major concerns. Because what is going on now is the same that led to what happened in 2006,"" Adnan Faihan, the head of the political bureau of the Shia armed group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, told Al Jazeera.

Reuters reports that more than 1,100 people have been killed since the start of April when the latest wave of attacks erupted. With a death toll of more than 700, April was the deadliest month since U.S. troops left the country in December 2011.

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Geopolitics

The New Iraq, Signs Of Hope Amid The Rubble And Reconstruction

How do you rebuild a country decimated by four decades of war and embargoes? Following the withdrawal of the U.S. military, Iraq faces many challenges, from oil revenues captured by the militias and endemic corruption to religious segregation. However, there are glimmers of hope for the country's future.

Street scene in Erbil, Iraq

Théophile Simon

BAGHDAD — With a vast office located at the top of a tower fiercely guarded by the army and a bell to call the staff, Khalid Hamza Abbas is obviously a powerful character, decked out in an impeccable suit. Abbas runs the Basra Oil Company (BOC), the national company responsible for the exploitation of the oil fields in the province of Basra, in the very south of Iraq, from which four million barrels of crude oil flow daily. It’s the equivalent of 4% of world demand and 65% of central government revenue concentrated in a region of only four million inhabitants.

As he explains the profit-sharing scheme between the world’s major oil companies and his public enterprise, the 50-year-old with thin glasses is suddenly stopped dead in his tracks by the ringing of his telephone. He tries a joke to mask his suddenly worried face: "I'm going to ask you to leave my office for a few moments. If I haven't called you back in 10 minutes, call the police."

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