Iraqi Troops thwart Attempted Car Bombing

AP — Iraqi troops thwart attempted car bombing

Iraqi troops thwarted a car bombing Sunday outside a their regional headquarters northeast of Baghdad, killing an attacker before could detonate his vehicle. Two bystanders also died in the assault.

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The would be car-bombing occurred in Baqouba, scene of fierce fighting last week between American soldiers and insurgents who tried to seize government buildings and police stations. According to Iraqi police, the would-be attacker was stopped Sunday for a routine search at an Iraqi National Guard checkpoint near the unit’s headquarters. The driver jumped from the vehicle, shouted “God is great” and “I’m going to kill you.” Guardsmen opened fire, killing him and triggering the explosives in the car, according to police chief Waleed al-Azawi. Two bystanders were killed in the explosion, hospital officials said.

Iraqi officials have blamed foreign fighters and religious extremists for the wave of vehicle bombings which have swept the country in recent months. The wave has led to fears that religious fanatics and Saddam Hussein loyalists may be joining forces to fight both the multinational force and the new Iraqi government.

Although Iraq regained sovereignty last Monday, about 160,000 foreign troops, most of them Americans, remain here under a U.N. resolution to help the new government restore security. On Sunday, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi politely but firmly rejected offers from Jordan’s King Abdullah II, telling ABC’s “This Week” that “we are not asking” for additional soldiers. The Iraqis are not anxious to bring in Arab troops — especially from neighboring countries — fearing that could complicate relations with Syria and Iran, which U.S. and Iraqi officials have alleged have not done enough to control infiltration across their borders.

Allawi’s government is expected to announce a package of initiatives to combat the insurgency, including limited emergency rule and an offer of amnesty to some of those who fought the U.S.-led occupation.

This should give Iraqis a bit of confidence that their new government is capable of providing security, perhaps enough so to allow them to begin turning in insurgents.

Allawi’s rejection of Jordanian troops is interesting news. Certainly, Iraqi-Jordanian relations have been very odd for two decades or so, alternately very warm (see their joint role in establishing the Arab Cooperation Council in 1989 and Jordan as the lone supporter of Saddam during Desert Storm) and rather chilly (most of the last decade or so). And balancing the relationship with Iran has been difficult since the rise of Khomeinism in 1979. Still, with the demand for more “boots on the ground” that has been a steady refrain for a year now, it’s surprising to see this move. One would think that Arab faces would be far preferable to American ones. (Of course, as we all know, an operation isn’t truly international unless it involves the French.)

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Terrorism
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. notefromjk says:

    You say “this should give iraqis confidence” in their security. But of course a single successful block of a terrorist attack won’t boost confidence significantly. Nor will some untried Allawi initiatives. Maybe you have something else to say about why Iraqi’s will feel more secure?

    Now i agree that an increased sense of security (however it happens) could inspire Iraqis to turn in insurgents. Those that are not turning in insurgents out of fear of their lives will be encouraged by improved security. We’ll get some mileage out of that. But not much.

    Terrorism in Iraqi will be a large threat despite marginal security increases because most of the believe insurgents are their best shot at getting a piece of the power. For baathists and sunnis, terrorism gives them a shot at maintaining a hold in a Shia-dominated Iraq. For others, they fear undue US influence. For this majority of citizen-supporters of terrorism, security of the new government is also insecurity – the risk of disenfranchisement and worse. Finally, there’s Kurdish terrorism to consider if Kurds can’t get a large measure of independence (which isn’t looking likely). The Iraqi government will face a substantial threat to it’s stability from terrorism – that seems quite clear.

    Your commentary, as it stands, seems unrealistically optimistic; I think that this oversight is largely wishful (who in the US doesn’t want it to turn out well?), but also politically motivated. Is that something you would cop to?

    Terrorist attacks are and probably will be a threat to Iraq’s future for several years; it may be that we could not have avoided this. It may be that several changes in our approach could have seriously reduced it. But that the Iraqi security picture is not going to be reassuring for several years seems to me to be quite clear. It’s important for Americans to understand that as a consequence of this war, so that we are more careful in our future approaches. There was too much “rah-rah” and not enough clarity in our approach. And hardly any planning for completion of the victory. That cannot be allowed to happen again.
    “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” – TJefferson

  2. Kathy K says:

    A good many of the ‘insurgents’ are invaders. Mostly the Iraqis don’t turn them in out of fear, not out of support.

    I don’t blame the Iraqis at all for not wanting Arab troops, especially from neighboring countries. What a great way to smuggle in more ‘insurgents’, already armed and armored. I’m glad they aren’t silly enough to take up that offer.

  3. La Femme Crickita says:

    Hello,
    Saddam IS an Arab, not an Iraqi. ‘His’ people, therefore, are not going to be Iraqis who want him back but Arabs. And good on them that they are taking initiative to root out the insurgents. When the Iraqi people see that they are being protected, and that they will be able to truly govern themselves, the insurgency will die.

  4. notefromjk says:

    I hadn’t thought much about a possible Arab-Iraqi nationality conflict. It does seem like Iraqis wouldn’t want any more foreigners in their country.

    Kathy, it seems obvious to me that there is plenty of home-grown resistance to US occupation and to the new government. How do you figure that the insurgents are mostly foreigners? Defend your assertion.

    I’ll defend my assertion that they aren’t mostly foreigners. For example: what happened to the Iraqi army that didn’t show up to fight? Seems to me like they’re fighting now. They didn’t evaporate, and they aren’t all being recruited by the new government, and the Sunni mulsims haven’t been fleeing the country. The Sunni Iraqis are fighting for their share of power. (So they believe.)

    When you invade someone’s country and kill lots of civilians (collateral damage doesn’t look very collateral from the receiving end) and you don’t have a clear plan for helping them, people resent you. There have been protests, and those are the folks who express their resentment in civilized ways. Do you really doubt that there aren’t plenty of locals expressing themselves in uncivilized ways?

    The Bush admin has indicated that Iraqi military elements coordinate and foster a lot of the strikes. Again, the Iraqi military are not foreigners, and their interest in insurgency lasts as long as Shia-dominated government lasts.

    Plenty of Muslims in Iraq buy into the idea that the US is their enemy. And why not? We are noted for opulence, power-plays and look at the conduct of our women! from their point of view. Lots of folks in Iraq want us out for no better reason than that – and if the government won’t do it, then the insurgents work fine as a proxy for those folks.

    The country of Iraq is so divided by religion and politics that there will always be disturbance. Your picture is way too rosy. The question is how much will there be – will it be enough to seriously hamper the new government?

    I believe that ill-considered prewar arguments and ill-considered postwar planning have cost us and the Iraqis a great deal in terms of fostering insurgency. However, the insurgency was going to be there, for reasons noted above. That’s the price we’re paying now (God help us, that’s the price troops and workers and their families and Iraqis are paying now), and it’s important for Americans to see that.

    The Bush administration keeps saying that the insurgents are mostly foreigners, but politicians including Bush have demonstrated that they’re too eager to choose their evidence self-servingly. I think it makes perfect sense that insurgents are multi sourced. Plenty of reasons for the average Iraqi to want us out. Plenty of sunni Muslims to fight for their share of the pie. The idea that they’re mostly outsiders overlooks the Sunnis and overlooks resentment of the US. This is the price of war, and what does it really do to stop terrorism?

    Two blocks from my old apartment in Brooklyn some men were caught and pipe bombs confiscated. Nobody invaded Brooklyn. The cops did it.

    The man who headed up the first World Trade Center attack is headed for (is in?) prison – and nobody invaded any countries.

    The people responsible for the Lockerbie bombings went down – and no one invaded any countries.

    The men believed to be responsible for strikes against the Cole and the US embassies in Sudan were blown up – and nobody invaded any countries.

    Saudi Arabia has been a rich funding ground for terrorists – their finally cracking down on that, and it’s not because we invaded their country.

    Your picture of why the insurgency is taking place is too monochrome, unrealistic. People need to understand what war really is, especially in messy third-world nations. They need to know the cost of war, and they need to question how effective war against countries is against terrorism, which is not country-dependent.

    And if that isn’t enough, the choice of targets was questionable in the extreme. But that’s another topic.