Bahrain’s Top Diplomat Shot in Baghdad

Bahrain’s Top Diplomat Shot in Baghdad (AP)

Bahrain’s top envoy to Iraq was wounded Tuesday in the second attack against an Arab diplomat here in a week. A major Sunni Arab group called on Sunnis to take part in future elections, action that could diminish the insurgency. […] The Bahraini diplomat, Hassan Malallah al-Ansari, was shot on his way to work in western Baghdad, said Dr. Muhanad Jawad of Yarmouk Hospital. Al-Ansari was treated for a shoulder wound and was released, witnesses said.

The incident occurred three days after gunmen kidnapped Egypt’s top envoy to Iraq, Ihad al-Sherif, and both attacks appeared to signal an insurgent campaign to discourage Arab countries from bolstering diplomatic ties to the U.S.-backed Iraqi government. “The aim is clear, just to create a state of fear,” Iraqi government spokesman Laith Kuba said. Al-Sherif’s kidnapping “was an attempt to … scare the other diplomatic missions so that they won’t expand their presence in Iraq.”

The tiny Gulf state of Bahrain is a close American ally and home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which played a support role during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

As with the earlier incident, this seems to fit in with the aims of al Qaeda–whose constituent factions hated their corrupt governments long before Osama bin Laden managed to rally their efforts against the United States–than with the domestic Sunni insurgents. This is more likely to strengthen the resolve of the neighboring Arab states against the insurgents than to weaken the U.S. efforts.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.