WASHINGTON, July 11, 2016 — Last weekend saw the deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in almost a decade. The death toll now stands at 292, with another 200 wounded, many of them children.
The truck bomb was detonated late Saturday night, July 3. The attack took place in a shopping center in the Karrada district, where families shopped, ate, and prepared for the end of the holy month Ramadan, Eid-al-Fitr. Thousands of people were in the district celebrating the end-of-day fast.
A second bomb exploded early Sunday at an outdoor market in the Shaab district of southeastern Baghdad. This bombing did not result in massive casualties as in Karrada (five casualties), but both of these neighborhoods are predominately Shia.
Daesh (ISIS) has laid claim to both attacks. Daesh adheres to a radical version of Sunni Islam’s fundamentalist Wahhabi sect. Minority Muslim communities like the Shia are targets of Daesh, which sees them as enemies to Islam.
Iraqis blame the government
Although Daesh is to blame for this atrocity, many Iraqis blame the government. CNN interviewed college student Sadeq al Zawini:
“We’ve had it with the Iraqi government and politicians. They can’t continue blaming Daesh and other terrorist groups. We need a solution,” he said, using another name for ISIS. “I lost several friends myself, some are still missing,” he said, sobbing. Iraqis expressed their anger over the situation when Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other officials attempted to survey.”
It is no wonder the Iraqi people are fed up with their government. In a recent report by Frontline, an undercover investigation uncovered fake bomb detecting instruments used at security check points. According to Frontline, the ADE 651 bomb detector, also known as a “magic wand,” has been known to be fake for years.
Fake bomb detectors
The day after the Karrada attack, Frontline reported, “Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the country’s security services to stop using the fraudulent bomb detectors that have become a fixture at security checkpoints across the country.”
These detectors cannot detect explosives at all. Frontline reports that the Iraqi government has spent $85 million on these devices. These devices were exposed as fraudulent in 2010 and the English exporter was sent to prison for fraud.
In 2014, Martin Smith of Frontline went back to Baghdad and noticed these bomb detecting devices were still being used. The difference is, an antenna and a plastic handle had been attached to the device. It was the exact same device, just keener looking.
“We remain united with the Iraqi people and government in our combined efforts to destroy Isil,” said a White House statement, using another term for the group.
Why then, after the United States spent trillions on the war in Iraq, are the Iraqi forces equipped with fraudulent devices? There is one explanation: corruption.
The fake devices are being used by Sunni-led coalitions. The majority of the bombings are happening in Shia populated territories. That is something to think about.
These attacks in Iraq will be forgotten by the Western public in days, even more quickly than the recent attack in Orlando, Florida. In both cases, governments will express their resolve to protect their citizens, but it will soon be forgotten.
In Iraq, equipment will still be fake or faulty and corruption will prevail. In America, gun control will be a never ending issue. More attacks on both fronts will continue in a never ending cycle.