Juan Cole’s comment:
The LAT reports on the three bombings that roiled the northern city of Kirkuk on Monday and which its interviewees blamed on "al-Qaeda."I am horrified at the loss of innocent life, and hate to see the incident used for politics. I would be very suspicious of assigning blame to "al-Qaeda" for this one.
The bombs hit the party offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Kirkuk as well as (Kurdish) policemen. The Kurds are trying to annex oil-rich Kirkuk province to their Kurdistan provincial confederacy. Turkmen and Arabs do not want to be annexed. Turkey does not want to see it annexed.
There are lots of social forces that would like to hit the PUK over this issue, not just "al-Qaeda." The Kurds know that blaming the bombing on that organization (does anyone in Iraq really have Bin Laden`s phone number?) will gain them the sympathy of clueless Americans for their planned annexation.
Everyone in the US now complains about the way we were spun by corrupt financier Ahmad Chalabi. But it is seldom appreciated how much Kurdish leaders like Jalal Talabani and Hoshyar Zebari were involved in feeding the US loads of bull about Iraq. Their ultimate goal is partition of the country, and they are manipulating Washington toward that end.
Kirkuk has been growing in instability for some time. It will be even hotter later this year when there is a referendum on its future, which the Kurds will win. This bombing is the writing on the wall.