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Resurgence of Violence in Iraq Worries Region, Not U.S. Gen.

August 29, 2009 Leave a comment

In July, some senior defense officials attributed the spike in violence in Iraq to a last push by Sunni extremist groups.

We knew that if al-Qaeda in Iraq had only five bombs left, they were going to use them all as the last of our forces left the cities,” said a senior defense official who follows Iraq. “They wanted to create the narrative that they had driven us from Iraq. Next, they’ll want to build the narrative that the Iraqi security forces can’t protect the people.”

Indeed, two months after the withdrawal of American troops, a series of attacks have all but convinced Iraqis that the security troops cannot quell the violence.

A string of coordinated attacks on government ministries and a number of deadly bombings in the north, have rapidly chipped away at the legitimacy of the troops.

“Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says the security forces are partly responsible for allowing the worst attack to happen outside his ministry,” reported the BBC.

Iraqis name corruption as the reason why the bombers have been able to get through the checkpoints. Bribes and other underhanded dealings take the place of inspection, undermining security measures. One of the organizers of the 19 August truck bombing that killed 68 spoke of paying $10,000 to get a truck laden with explosives into the center of the capital.

Nevertheless, U.S. army chief of staff General George Casey said the U.S. military is pushing ahead with its schedule to reduce the 130,000 American troops.

Advisers expect sectarian tensions to flare by the January elections.

BBC LIST OF KEY ATTACKS SINCE US PULLBACK

19 Aug: At least 95 killed in wave of attacks in central Baghdad

31 July: Bombs outside five Baghdad mosques kill 27

9 July: 50 die in bombs at Talafar (near Mosul), Baghdad, elsewhere

30 June: US troops withdraw from Iraqi towns and cities. Car bomb in Kirkuk kills at least 27

Update:

A bomb attack on a cafe in a remote Iraqi village in northern Iraq today killed 18. The visiting Iranian foreign minister said that instability in Iraq affects the region, reports the AP.

The Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki called on neighboring countries to help stabilize Iraq. Since the U.S. pull-out, bombers have been exploiting the vulnerability of small remote villages. These attacks allegedly target ethnic minorities especially, including Kurdish Yazidis and Sunni Azamiyah.

According to the AP, the Iraqi government has blamed an alliance of al-Qaeda in Iraq and Saddam loyalists based in Syria for the truck bombings.

— Tina Carter, Trinity ’10
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