Thursday, April 12, 2007

Two major attacks in Baghdad

Not good news:

A suspected suicide bomber blew himself up in the Iraqi parliament cafeteria in a stunning assault in the heart of the heavily fortified, U.S.-protected Green Zone on Thursday, killing at least eight people, including two lawmakers, the American military said. At least 10 other people were wounded.

Thursday's attack came hours after a suicide truck bomb exploded on a major bridge in Baghdad, collapsing the steel structure and sending cars tumbling into the Tigris River below, police and witnesses said. At least 10 people were killed in that attack.

I'm kind of surprised the suicide bombers haven't targeted big bridges before this. It's an effective way to both kill people and paralyze the city.

The Parliament bombing is more troubling, considering the Parliament is deep inside the Green Zone. The bomber either got through several layers of security undetected -- which strikes me as unlikely -- or he had inside help. The implications of that could be huge.

It would appear the Parliament bomber was Sunni, because the dead were either Shiite or Kurd. In particular we can probably rule out Moqtada al-Sadr as a suspect, because six of the wounded were from his party.

Is this a comment on whether the "surge" is working? Not of the "smoking gun" variety. The Green Zone is a heavily fortified, high value target, so attacks there don't reasonably reflect security conditions elsewhere in the city. As for the bridge attack, not only is the surge still gathering steam, but it's pretty much impossible to prevent all attacks by suicide bombers. A checkpoint on the bridge might have helped stop that attack, but there's a limit to the number of potential targets the military can protect with limited forces. It's worth asking, though, if such a major piece of infrastructure was guarded -- and if not, why not. Baghdad is crisscrossed by rivers, notably the Tigris; lose enough bridges, and the city would essentially be cut in half.

All that said, inasmuch as this reflects a recent uptick in violence in Baghdad (after an initial decline), it could end up being part of a body of evidence that the surge produced only temporary benefits. But only time will tell.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No. I think it's a sign that al Qaeda is still at work in Iraq. Now they are saying the bomber might have been a Parliament member himself---or his bodyguard. Now---who does this other than someone who wants to STOP any form of a democracy from occuring in Iraq.

Also---more and more reports are coming from our military heads stating that Iran is hard at work INSIDE Iraq. The Iran intelligence is actually engaging our soldiers INSIDE Iraq....supplying bomb materials and teaching the zealots how to mix bombs.

I think it's getting real close to where something HAS to be done about Iran. We have a huge Air Force; I think it's time we use it to put a stop to the interference from Iran.

JP5

4/12/2007 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, how do you KNOW "apparently Rove didn't bother?" Proof please.

JP5

4/12/2007 3:11 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

JP5: What makes you think widening the war by bombing Iran will either make them stop or make us more secure?

Your second comment appears intended for the White House e-mails thread. And the answer is that I was quoting from the Dan Froomkin column, who was paraphrasing the results of a long phone conversation he had with White House flacks.

4/12/2007 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG...YES. I got my e-mail threads mixed up. Sorry. Maybe Leahy and Schumer should investigate me and see if I was trying to commit a crime. But they wouldn't believe me anyway, would they?

On bombing Iran: what makes you think that our finally responding to their attacks on us is "widening the war?" Haven't THEY already widened it? So....what.....you're saying we should just "do nothing?" Just hand Iraq over to them without a fight even???

JP5

4/12/2007 3:30 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

There's a difference between carrying on low-level proxy battles in Iraq and expanding it into a direct nation-on-nation conflict. Recall how the Cold War was fought, for instance.

As for what to do about Iran, I frankly don't know. First step is to assemble definitive proof of their involvement. Next step is to bring diplomatic and economic pressure on them while doing our best to seal the border militarily. Last option is military strikes.

But first we have to decide if we're going to stay in Iraq. Because there's little point in provoking a direct confrontation if we're going to be leaving anyway.

Remember, Iran isn't the problem here. They are part of it, but they are far from being all or even most of it. For that, you must turn to the Sunni insurgents and foreign fighters -- which are not supported by Iran.

4/12/2007 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once we have definitive proof--which we evidently already have according to the military heads there----we could bomb their military installations. That would set them back on their heels.

We can't apply all the diplomatic pressure all by ourselves. And the UN is worthless on this point....as they actually placed Iran on the Disarmament Committee for the second year in a role. So, while we're trying to isolate Iran and hold them accountable, some inside the United Nations are working against us and trying to give Iran a larger role.

JP5

4/13/2007 6:53 PM  

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