Iraq Suicide Terrorists Kill 75

It appears that suicide bombings are back in a big way in Iraq:

At least 75 people were killed and 120 injured in two explosions in Iraq on Thursday that shook a quiet residential Baghdad neighborhood and a restive city north of the capital where Iranian tourists were targeted.

In the first attack, a woman wearing a suicide belt exploded herself in the Karada district of Baghdad as dozens of people lined up at a food giveaway, killing 28, including 12 police officers, and injuring 50, according to an official with the Interior Ministry.

In the second attack, in Muqdadiya in Diyala Province, a bomb went off inside a restaurant where a group of Iranian tourists were eating lunch, killing 47 and injuring 70, according to police officials. All but five of the dead and injured appeared to be Iranians. It was not immediately clear whether the explosion had been caused by a suicide bomber. Two of the dead and three of the wounded were Iraqis, officials said.

The attack in Baghdad came as food was being distributed by members of the Iraqi police and the Red Crescent charity in front of an apartment building. In the aftermath of the blast, the street was littered with bags of flour and red apples, and pieces of human flesh attracted masses of flies.

This is why progress is always so tentative in counterinsurgency/counterterrorism operations:  Well-targeted violence can send things in a downward spiral in a hurry, undoing months of progress in building public confidence.

It’s happened before.  In early 2006, things were looking up.  There were real signs of political progress in Iraq, with two reasonably successful elections, recognition of basic human rights and religious tolerance in the constitution, and numerous other indicators that civil society was taking hold.  Musab al-Zarqawi and AQI managed to turn an uncoordinated anti-Coalition insurgency into sectarian violence with the al-Askari Mosque bombing and other incidents. It took more than two years to get back to anything close to the status quo ante.

We can only hope that the latest wave of violence doesn’t do similar damage.

FILED UNDER: General, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Tlaloc says:

    We can only hope that the latest wave of violence doesn’t do similar damage.

    If it doesn’t the next one will. Or the one after that. Iraq is too unstable a target, with deep rifts, not to mention very legitimate grievances, that the insurgents can play on and use.

    The surge was always just about kicking the can down the road. It was never going to give ample space to heal the divides. It’d need a decade at least, maybe a few, and the American public quite reasonably isn’t going to make that kind of investment. There will be an uptick in the violence, in fact there are already indications the violence may have slowly started creeping upwards before this latest tragedy. For US troops March was the slowest month for casualties but April has gone back up to at least the level seen since October of last year. For Iraqis January was the best month and since then the numbers have gone back up slowly.