No, Hostilities Have Not Ended In Iraq

Despite the Obama Administration’s declaration of an end to “combat operations,” the situation in Iraq remains as unstable as it was when we were actually engaged in a war:

BAGHDAD – At least 29 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured when a pair of bombs exploded almost simultaneously Sunday in Baghdad.

One of the bombs was apparently aimed at a sales office of Asiacell, a large Iraqi mobile phone company that has been a frequent target of insurgent extortion attempts.

The second bombing, the more lethal of the two, occurred in a residential neighborhood of Khadimiya, a predominantly Shiite area in northern Baghdad. Nineteen people were killed and 53 others were wounded in that bombing.

The blasts are the latest in a series of explosions and other attacks that have occurred across Iraq during the past several weeks during the country’s ongoing political crisis.

Iraq held parliamentary elections more than six months ago, but the country’s political leaders have failed thus far to form a government. Insurgents have sought to take advantage of the power vacuum during what has been a violent summer in the country.

No one took immediate responsibility for the Sunday explosions, which took place about 10:30 a.m., but the first — a suicide car bomb detonated outside of Asiacell in the west Baghdad neighborhood of Mansour — had all of the hallmarks of an operation carried out by Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and its Sunni insurgent allies.

Al Qaeda has repeatedly blown up mobile phone transmission towers around the country, many of them owned by Asiacell. The group also bombed the company’s office in the northern city of Mosul in 2008.

On Sunday, an Iraqi police officer at the scene said the office in Mansour had also been bombed at least once in the past.

The police said 10 people were killed and 58 others had been wounded in the attack outside the mobile phone store.

At this point, I’m not sure what it is that further involvement by the United States would accomplish. This is an Iraqi problem, and the fact that they cannot even form a stable government at the moment leads one to wonder why we’re leaving 50,000 troops behind to defend a government that doesn’t really exist.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Policing, US Politics, World Politics, , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Eric Florack says:

    Even Bush didn’t declare an end to hostilities, merely that the mission (Within the context of the men on that ship) had been accomplished.  So, where are the howls from the left?
    I suggest it’s time for us to recognize that the reason that Iran is still in problems is that Obama… who is not a leader… is in the White House.

  2. Tano says:

    It seems that you are equating “end of US combat operations” with “end of hostilities”.  Why are you doing that? Obama has declared the former, he has not claimed the latter. As everyone who has been paying attention to this war has known for years now -going back deep into the Bush administration – the goal for the US was to gradually leave in sync with the Iraqis ability to deal with the ongoing hostilities on their own, without our help. Neither Obama nor Bush (at least for most of the second term) ever promised to stay until there were no more hostilities.
    Beyond that problem with your overall frame to this post, I think it is also quite a stretch – ok, just plain wrong – to claim that Iraq is as unstable now as it was when “we were actually engaged in a war”. Things were objectively a lot worse then.
    As to your final comment – there is, in fact, a government. As there is a parliament. The government is held over from the last parliament because the new parliament is so divided that a governing coalition has not been able to form. That is certainly a big problem, but it obviously does not mean that there is no government.
    Our troops are there to further train the Iraqi army – something whose value seems obvious, to assist them with any security crisis that might be too difficult for them – once again, pretty obviously a good and important thing to do, to deter any force that might sense a power vacuum and wish to exploit it, and to provide a sense of stability while the politicians try to work through their differences, not only in terms of forming a new government but also resolving at last those huge outstanding problems like the formula for sharing oil, the status of Kirkuk, and mechanisms to protect minority rights.

  3. Tano says:

    Even Bush didn’t declare an end to hostilities

    Neither did Obama. That was Doug’s mischaracterization…
    But you knew that….

    the reason that Iran is still in problems is that Obama…  is in the White House.

    Hmmm. Thanks for your objective analysis! I presume that means that Iran became such a huge problem over the past decade because Bush was in the White House….

  4. Eric Florack says:

    Neither did Obama. That was Doug’s mischaracterization…
    But you knew that….

    Actually, no. Mostly because your claim isn’t true.

  5. I did not say that Obama claimed that hostilities had ended in Iraq.



  6. ponce says:

    “I did not say that Obama claimed that hostilities had ended in Iraq.”
    Then why the misleading title?

  7. anjin-san says:

    >  I suggest it’s time for us to recognize that the reason that Iran is still in problems is that Obama…

    Can you translate that into English for us?

  8. Tano says:

    I did not say that Obama claimed that hostilities had ended in Iraq.

    Hmmm, gee sorry then. Could you please explain whose argument you were refuting when you titled your post:

    No, Hostilities Have Not Ended in Iraq

    Seems like you were responding to someone who was claiming that they had ended. Since your right away launched into a critique of the Obama administration, one imagines that you were refuting them. So who were you responding to?

  9. anjin-san says:

    Bit perhaps you could detail for us the steps that a President McCain would have taken to end violence in Iraq. Could you also detail for us what Obama mistakes have caused Iraq to remain a violent place? Keeping in mind of course that this all predates his administration…