Iraq’s Security Imbroglio

There was no time for partying as US troops pulled out of Iraq’s urban centres. A new wave of suicide bombing and blasts have ripped through several cities and towns in the last few days. The most lethal attack has come in Talafar, a sleepy town near Mosul, where at least 35 people were killed in a double suicide bombing. So is the case with Baghdad, and its thickly populated Sadr City, where roadside bombings have become order of the day.

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Published: Sat 11 Jul 2009, 9:22 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 12:32 AM

This has raised serious questions about Iraqi forces capability for guaranteeing security without the cushion of foreign support. At the same time, it reflects poorly on the credibility of the government that was confident of providing foolproof security paradigm by bolstering its intelligence network and ensuring that the terror outfits are nipped in the bud.

The Americans have walked out at a time when the war-weary country is in the throes of nervousness. A fragile law and order situation at home accompanied by serious political upheavals across the divide in Iran is bound to create ripples. And there is no dearth of elements that will try to destabilise Iraq in order to further their trans-regional designs. Al Qaeda and its likes, as well as the pro-Iran militants, of course, do have an agenda to nurse, and thatcannot be better served as the government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki stumbles on the security front.

This goes on to prove that not enough homework had been done before handing over the reigns of security and political governance to an immature polity in Baghdad.

If the ongoing new wave of unrest and violence is any criterion of the trends to follow, Iraq is in rough waters. Its sovereignty and political wisdom will be put to test as it embarks on the daunting task of nation building. This is the time for national reconciliation. The challenge of terrorism can only be faced with national unison, and a long-term geo-political strategy whereby national and security institutions are made stronger and more effective.

A lot needs to be done on the security front. All those who want to derail the handover from US to Iraqi forces now appear to be testing the ground. Which necessitates the urgency of Washington helping Baghdad to build an invincible national army and a local police force buoyed with an adequate intelligence network. Though one can argue the credibility of Americans themselves as they duped into Iraq on flimsy grounds, they can’t be absolved of the responsibility of pulling Iraq out of the abyss. President Barack Obama may be right to take pride in fulfilling the commitment to withdraw, but securing Iraq and the region at large cannot be dispensed with. Iraq’s source of pride should be its triumph over insecurity rather than a ceremonial withdrawal.

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