Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Baghdad Under Attack

Today was Baghdad’s bloodiest this year. More than 90 people were killed and over 500 more were wounded in a series of attacks across the city. The deadliest of the attacks took place just outside the building of the foreign ministry. The bomb was so powerful that blast walls were blown off. This particular attack may be more than just an indiscriminate massacre. The location and timing suggest it could be a message from Arab nationalist extremists to Kurdish leaders over Kirkuk and Mosul (or so the perpetrators want it to be seen). This is because the Kurdish-dominated foreign ministry is considered a symbol of Kurds’ presence and influence in Baghdad.

The attacks in general show that terrorist groups in Baghdad can still be lethal. They also indicate that existing plans are not bringing us closer to long-lasting peace and stability.

Baghdad and Washington should take a second look at their strategies and revise whatever needs to be revised. This may be particularly painful for Maliki since it's election season. However, if he wants to be reelected on the premise of the improvements in security during his first term, then his priority should be to do whatever is needed to preserve security.
Same for Washington; if the administration wants to call this war over.

There are unconfirmed reports that the actual number of casualties is much higher than 95 dead and 560 wounded. The editors at claim they received information from "special sources" in Baghdad that put the casualties at 200 dead and over 1,700 wounded. "There were orders not to release these figures to avoid panic", according to Kitabat.

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