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Salem Alketbi

Bombings in Iraq and war on terror

الاثنين - 01 فبراير 2021

Mon - 01 Feb 2021

The recent terrorist twin suicide bombing in Tayaran Square in central Baghdad brought home the fact that the global war on terrorism is not over. The suicide bomber attack was not only aimed at undermining the security of Iraq and Iraqis.

It also aimed to remind the world that terrorist organizations remain a threat that deserves to remain in the spotlight, despite all the concerns of the international community in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic and its devastating human and economic losses.

As a matter of fact, the war on terror is a long battle. In some countries, conditions conducive to terrorism still exist, providing the breathing space necessary for its survival, even if operational means have been reduced.

In the complex Iraqi security environment, there may be “breaches,” as described by Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi. He seems well aware of the loopholes that open the way for such breaches.

So it sounds obvious that he is going to work seriously to address these loopholes in order to ensure the security of the country, even if this is no small task given how complex the relations and interests between parties and alliances are on the Iraqi scene.

In fact, Iraq is making significant progress in the fight against terrorism. The latest twin suicide bombing, despite the heavy loss of life, is nothing more than a despicable operation whose repetition can be avoided.

We must not forget that Daesh, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, controlled a vast area of territory in this major Arab country. The so-called caliphate held control over about 88,000 square kilometers in an area between eastern Iraq and Syria, where about eight million people live.

No wonder then that such a terrorist organization could conduct criminal operations since it counts some 10,000 members, according to UN estimates, still active in Syria and Iraq. They are a source of grave danger as they return to their old modus operandi of trying to spread panic, disrupt normal life and bring the organization back to surface as a real threat.

Beyond the multitude of analyses on these criminal attacks and their sponsors, whether Daesh or others, victims remain the Iraqi people. People are suffering from sectarian conflicts and regional interventions, a complex state of affairs that generates an overlap between what is security and what is political, in addition to the possible pooling of interests between various conspiring powers seeking to destabilize Iraq and Iraqis through unholy alliances.

To tell the truth, the question of who perpetrated the attacks, for which the terrorist organization Daech has claimed responsibility, is not so important. What is more interesting is the purpose and timing of the attacks.

It is not just a message to prove the survival of this criminal organization. Rather, it is an attempt to influence the current Iraqi government’s efforts to fight terrorism and establish security in the country, and to keep weapons in the hands of the Iraqi state as the only means to eliminate the influence of militias and the chaos of sectarian cleavages that incite the use of violence and the language of weapons.

The arming of militias and the networks of interests and allies make things incredibly complicated in Iraq. Moreover, some parties do not want a stable Iraq, not today and not tomorrow. They want to perpetuate sectarian conflict in this Arab country.

This has nothing to do with targeting Shiites or Sunnis. After all, terrorists do not represent any religion or denomination. They are gangs of mercenaries who attract all kinds of followers in their quest for clout and other objectives that have nothing to do with the defense of a doctrine, a religion, or a community.

Certainly, the bombings in Iraq are an unforgivable terrorist crime. Perpetrators must pay the price regardless of their identity. Terror has proven to be a network of interests and alliances that do not act alone, but serve each other, sometimes coming together and sometimes battling each other, depending on the circumstances and the instrumentalization by parties that support this odious phenomenon in this or that country.

The world collective, seemingly forgetful of the war on terrorism, must put this chronic threat back on its agenda. The Iraqi government needs help to play its part in the fight against this loathsome phenomenon and to save Iraq from falling back into the hands of sectarian forces that have been dragging it down for years.

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