After the December 8, 2009 Baghdad bombings, members of the security forces and related ministries have been grilled by the Iraqi parliament over their conduct. It’s been revealed that the security forces received two separate tips that an attack was imminent that day, yet they claimed they could do nothing about them.
First, according to independent Parliamentarian Mithal al Alusi, the Americans and the Interior Ministry warned the Baghdad Operations Command of impending car bombings on December 8. First, the Americans told the security forces about their information around 6 a.m. that morning. They said the attacks would happen between 8 a.m. and 6 pm. Around an hour later, the Interior Ministry told the Baghdad Operations command that they had receiving information that a car bombing would occur in the afternoon as well. Four hours later the bombs went off in four parts of the capitol.
Alusi’s rendition of events is also different from those of the security forces. The lawmaker said that the warnings had the right locations, but the Baghdad Operations Command (BOC) disputes that. Alusi also claimed that the security forces said they could not act on the American tip because it gave the wrong types of cars used. The former head of the BOC, General Abboud Qanbar, who was relieved of his position by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki immediately after the bombing, stated that there was not enough time to act on either piece of information.
There seems to be some gross incompetence going on somewhere within the security forces. The first bomb went off fives hours after the American tip. Wouldn’t that be enough time to set up new roadblocks and intensify searches? The claim that the police and Army couldn’t act because the tips warned of the wrong types of cars used is even worse if true. In the last couple years, Iraqi views of their security forces have greatly improved. According to opinion polls, the public has more confidence in the Army and police than they do the government overall. The massive bombings that have occurred every other month since August are meant to challenge these perceptions. Already, many Iraqis seem to be disheartened by their politicians bickering and backstabbing after each attack, and inability to stop the terrorists. The testimony to parliament by the security forces and Interior and Defense Ministries, may have the same affect, although most anger for now is directed towards the country’s leaders.
Carter, Chelsea, “Iraq: No time to act after US tip before blasts,” Associated Press, 12/13/09
- “US military confirms it warned Iraqis of possible Baghdad blasts, had no specific information,” Associated Press, 12/14/09
Inside Iraq, “Americans, Iraqi Interior and Intelligence tipped-off Authorities before the Bombings,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/12/09
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