View Full Version : Iraq army apologises for security failings that led to bomb blasts

08-21-2009, 04:19 AM
Senior police and army officials detained on suspicion of negligence

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Iraqi officials have apologised for security failings that contributed to yesterday's devastating explosions across Baghdad, amid widespread public suspicion that they have oversold their ability to bring a measure of peace to the city.

The rare display of contrition came as the death toll from the co-ordinated attacks rose to 101. More than 500 others were wounded when six bombs went off near the foreign and finance ministries, ripping through scores of nearby homes.

Major General Qassim al-Moussawi, the chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, said 11 police and army commanders responsible for security, traffic and intelligence services in the areas attacked had been detained on suspicion of negligence.

But with the city still reeling from the most lethal attacks in at least four years, many Baghdadis expressed anger that the security forces had failed to prevent the daylight attack on what was supposed to be one of the most secure neighbourhoods of the city.

Nezhat Jawed, 45, a housewife from the central neighbourhood of Karrada, said: "My cousin was killed yesterday. All of Iraq has been shocked by this. The government has failed in its responsibility and we don't place any trust in them. They could not protect us and carry out their promises. The army is strong, but they have traitors within."

Security officials released footage showing the truck carrying the largest of the six bombs driving along a heavily patrolled main thoroughfare to the front of the foreign ministry, where it blew up. Separate footage obtained by the government-run al-Iraqi television channel showed an apparently identical truck bomb being defused by army sappers in the same area.

Both were medium-sized lorries with high side railings carrying at least eight red plastic water storage containers filled with a white paste. Wires and detonator cords could clearly be seen.

Iraqi army officials suggested the second bomb was intended to target rescuers and people fleeing the scene of the first explosion.

The attack came less than eight weeks after US forces retreated to their strongholds in Baghdad as part of a bilateral security agreement, and President Jalal Talabani accused regional enemies of masterminding the chaos.

"The explosions yesterday rang the bell of danger," he said through a spokesman. "Just as we get close to the parliamentary elections, those who conspire against us have intensified their efforts."

The prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, whose government has based its authority on security gains, today held urgent meetings with security ministers. He later pledged a full re-evaluation of the capability and tactics of Iraqi forces. "We will look at the weapons they have, their plans and strategies, and we will ensure that the public receives the maximum levels of care and warning from us."

A further apology came from defence minister Abdul Qader al-Obeidi, whose spokesman said: "Iraqi forces have made mistakes, which we admit, like claiming recent [security] victories." Maliki has ordered many of the columns of barriers that have lined Baghdad for much of the past three years to be taken down, claiming sectarian chaos has ebbed.

But many Iraqis believe a return to the dark days is not far off. Dr Muthan Flefil, who teaches Islamic history at Baghdad University, said: "The explosions yesterday were all about political conflicts and the Iraqi people have paid the price of their blood. There is conflict between the old Ba'athists and the new guards as well as sectarian feuding in the neighbouring countries who will never accept a Shia government in Iraq.

"The Iraqi government won't be able to stop the next explosion for all these reasons. We are dealing with real enemies."

Walls have been removed from several mixed neighbourhoods that were battle-zones throughout 2006-07. Several main thoroughfares have also been reopened, including roads near to the scene of the foreign ministry bomb.

A road splitting the International Zone in half from south to north was due to be reopened on September 15 in what has been hailed as a further security milestone for Iraq. However, that plan was put on temporary hold yesterday as the fallout from Wednesday's attacks continues to be assessed.

08-22-2009, 03:09 AM
I hate to say it but remember the bank robberies...I told you something big was going to happen.....I really hate it when I am right on this shit. :(