Iraqi faith in future of country blown away in seconds

August 22, 2009

By Aws Qusay and Aseel Kami
Just the other day, a friend was complaining about the Iraqi army checkpoints all over Baghdad. “These checkpoints kill all the fun when I go out on a picnic with my family,” he moaned.
The next day, his wife found herself sitting among bleeding and dying colleagues at the Iraqi foreign ministry after a massive truckbomb devastated the facade of the building and cut down dozens of people in a cloud of shattered glass.

“It was judgment day,” his wife said about the scene. “Some people had lost their eyes. Everyone was crying or slaughtered by the flying glass,” she said.

After Wednesday’s bombings, which also targeted the finance ministry, the friend is still complaining about the checkpoints, but for different reasons. “So you wait for a long time in some checkpoint and then you see some a soldier or a policeman turn his back to the waiting vehicles and just start waving them through while he is chatting to someone else. What’s the point in that?” he said.

The checkpoints set up around Baghdad have gone overnight from an irritating and unwanted cause of traffic jams to being criticised as inadequate and unprofessional.  Wednesday’s explosions, in which almost 100 people died and more than 1,000 were wounded, exposed deep flaws in the ability of the Iraqi security forces to defend the population and obvious targets like government ministries against attack.

Public anger has led to some calls for the redeployment in city centres of U.S. troops, who pulled out of urban areas in June in compliance with a bilateral security pact that also sets a deadline of end-2011 for a full U.S. withdrawal. Iraqi troops and soldiers form the frontline now against insurgents such as al Qaeda and others who want to pitch Iraq back into sectarian war, undermine the Shi’ite Muslim-led government ahead of an election next year or who just want to sow chaos for the sake of chaos.

They are out there for hours on end even when the summer heat becomes unbearable and the air fills with choking dust from Iraq’s regular sandstorms. They can claim some credit for ending the sectarian slaughter between majority Shi’ites and once dominant Sunnis. But they and their checkpoints clearly have done nothing to prevent suicide, car and truck bomb attacks.

We Iraqis have in recent months begun to regain some confidence in the future of our country as the violence subsided and Iraq regained its sovereignty with the start of a U.S. withdrawal.
But Wednesday’s bomb blasts blew away that confidence as swiftly as they vaporised the windows and walls of the foreign and finance ministries and cut short the lives of dozens of people inside.

Whenever we think everything is returning to normal, a wave of bloodshed occurs again.
 Driving past the ruined finance ministry, slowing down to gape like everyone else, we are reminded that the building was attacked in a similar manner two years ago. Just like now, an elevated roadway near it collapsed in the blast two years ago.

It took the Iraqi government a whole year to rebuild it. What they built in a year collapsed in seconds on Wednesday. They will surely rebuild it again. We can’t help but wonder if it will be brought crashing down for a third time.


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There are many people who seem to empathise with the insurgents in Iraq and Afganistan.

Their argument is that people have a right to resist foreign occupation. And that they have a right to use force against our soldiers.

In some points, this argument has good ground. After all, if my nation was invaded I would probably resist.

But the point where the argument falls apart is with this article.

Yes, people have a right to resist occupation.

But how come those resistance members have just killed and maimed hundreds of innocent people? How does this explain the the thousands who have been kidnapped or murdered by ‘resistance fighters’?

Those who support terrorists argue that “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”.

But this is incorrect. Terrorism involves deliberate attacks against civilians, for the purpose of killing civilians.

It is the method that defines a terrorist, not the cause. Whether the bombers were freedom fighters or not, they are terrorists. And those who support them support terrorism.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Thank you, Mr. Bush

Posted by oberst | Report as abusive

As a human being I must feel sorry for you or at least show some sympathy. But I am iranian and was born in 1982 in Tehran. You are iraqi and am sure know what your country has done to us. You invaded my country and raved it for eight years. you killed innocent people. you bombed schools and hospitals. you used chemical weapons. that’s why I don’t feel sorry for you.

Posted by soulmaz | Report as abusive

your comment was unsulting to iranians everywhere. to think that you can sit there and say that you don’t feel sorry for what is happening in iraq. I come from a persian background myself and because of that I feel even worse for my iraqi brothers. what they have been thru under sadaam and and what they have been thru after sadaam, no one else with the exception of the palestinains has seen “hell on earth” like this. this not an iraqi insurgency, this the work of foregin arab governments and anti-shia governments like the saudis, jordanians, yemen, egypt, etc. their wahabbi inspired groups are carrying out these attacks to start the shia-sunni conflicts that most iraqis are against. its no secret that al-qaeda and elements of taliban and other “jihadi” groups are in iraq carrying out these attacks. labeling this as an “iraqi insurgency” is an easy for the world to blame iraq for its own on going problems.

Posted by hassan | Report as abusive

Why are US, UK and UN officials surprised at Iraq violence?
Iraq and most other Arab countries have been ruled though tribal affiliations for 5,000 years. What would make anyone think this is going to change when they are left to self rule?

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

Hassan, I am sorry if the truth makes you angry, but I totally agree with Robert. That’s what arabs do to their own nation, guess what they have done to Iranians. Did saddam what he did alone? He fought Iran single handed?

Posted by Soulmaz | Report as abusive