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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bombing in Baghdad; 3 Parliament members killed

Oh, I'm sure the Left will breathlessly make a big deal out of this. Not that a a bombing in the Green Zone isn't a big deal, but this is simply going to incite more rhetoric from the Left about the mission that's not a failure:

A bomb at the Iraqi parliament building in the well-protected Green Zone today killed eight people, including three lawmakers, demonstrating the vulnerability of even heavily guarded targets despite increased American efforts to secure the capital.

In a separate incident, a powerful truck bomb toppled a major Baghdad bridge, killing at least seven and leaving the structure lying in the Tigris River. Boats and divers responded to try to rescue an estimated 20 people whose vehicles tumbled into the water after the suicide attack.

The explosion in the Green Zone targeted a cafeteria in the parliament complex at a time when legislators, staff and others were eating lunch.

Maj. Shawn Stroud, a U.S. military spokesman, said at least eight people were killed and 23 injured in the parliament bombing. He said initial reports indicate it was a suicide bombing involving someone wearing a vest packed with explosives.

"This is just a barbaric attack on the institution of government," Stroud said.

Three of the dead have been identified as members of the Iraqi legislature, according to wire service reports and local officials: Mohammed Awad, a member of the Sunni National Dialogue Front, Taha al-Liheibi of the Sunni Accordance Front and Niamah al-Mayahi, a member of the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance bloc.

According to Faleh al-Mutlaq, head of the Dialogue Front, a female member of his party's delegation was also injured in the explosion.

The blast targeted an area meant to serve as a secure haven for Iraqi officials, diplomats, journalists and others to carry out their work.

Surprise, surprise ... the animals targeted an area frequented by civilians. Allah blogging at Hot Air,/li> notes that some thought something was up. They had bomb-sniffing dogs at the entrances going over people and packages, and it's something that is rarely done, especially in the Green Zone. He also observes that despite the stiff upper lip the Iraqis are projecting, this was a demoralizing attack. DUH! That's what these animals strive for.

He also brings up the point that some officials in Iraq had been complaining of "unecessary searches" in the Green Zone:

Government officials and lawmakers say they are fed up with what they feel are unnecessary searches by American troops and private security contractors in the Green Zone and persuaded President Jalal Talabani to take action, his office said Tuesday.

The president, a Kurd, set up a committee to develop new security rules and then meet with U.S. officials to agree on a new relationship between American-led coalition forces and all Iraqis, not just government officials and lawmakers.

The statement gave no other details, but Shiite legislator, Bassem Sharif, who attended the session at which the committee was established, said politicians complained bitterly about being searched every time they went into the parliament or Cabinet building.

Only Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Parliament Speaker Mahmoud Mashhadani are not searched under current practice.

Irony of ironies ... Think anyone's going to complain now about stringent security? If they value their jobs, and their lives, they'll keep their yaps shut. Allah also took notice of this report from TIME. Apparently there's evidence that this is a much wider plot:

In an assault apparently aimed at chilling negotiations between the Iraqi government and a faction of the insurgency, the Iraqi Parliament, located in Baghdad's high-security Green Zone, suffered a bomb attack. An official at the Ministry of the Interior told TIME that the bomber was wearing a suicide vest and was a guard for one of the members of parliament. ...

... The metal detectors at the entrance to the Baghdad Convention Center, where Parliament is housed, were not operating Thursday, said the Interior Ministry official, who was suspicious of a wider plot. Two weeks ago, Coalition forces found two suicide vests inside the Green Zone and there was speculation about the presence of a third in the area.

Within an hour of the explosion, a message from the al-Qaeda-controlled Islamic State in Iraq was posted on a prominent militant website, muslm.net, calling the blast a "message" to anyone who cooperates with "the occupier and its agents." It said ominously, "We will reach you wherever you are."

And, Allah adds this, too:

Read the end of this post from a few weeks ago about Iraqi MPs’ ties to terrorists. And remember that the assassination attempt on deputy PM Salam al-Zubaie was also by one of his bodyguards, an ex-jihadist who he tried to rehabilitate by adding him to his security detail.

Eason Jordan notes at
Iraqslogger that while American troops control the entrances to the Green Zone, Iraqis control the entrance to the parliament building itself. Wider plot indeed.

Omar Fadhil, PJM's Baghdad Editor observes that the terrorists weren't necessarily interested in a body count. That much is evident from the fact that this was an early morning attack, and most people aren't up and milling about then. The bridge they took out could have produced a much higher body count if they'd waited a couple more hours.

The strike on the Parliament cafeteria in the Green Zone was specifically designed to spread fear throughout the Zone. And while they only killed eight people total (three of them members of Parliament), the symbolism of striking a target that was deemed safe sends a bigger message. But if there are suspicions of this possibly being a wide plot -- possibly even including some of the Iraqi security forces that guard the building -- then the people behind it have to be rooted out, and removed.

From a PR standpoint, this isn't good. From the terrorists POV, today was a good day, despite the low body count. They struck with little warning (if any), and succeeded in their operation. This doesn't take away from the success of the surge. On the contrary, it shows the desperation and the risks our enemy's willing to take in such an attack.

Publius II


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