Tue, October 27, 2009
World > Middle East > Fragile Baghdad rocked by bombs

Iraqi media agitated by Baghdad deadly attacks

2009-10-26 15:18:52 GMT2009-10-26 23:18:52 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

by Jamal Hashim

BAGHDAD, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi media Monday was enraged over Sunday's deadly suicide truck bombings that killed and wounded hundreds of Iraqis, covering Iraqi officials' various reactions.

Some blamed the bloody attacks on insurgents and remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime, while others saw unqualified security forces and political infighting behind the attacks.

The state-run newspaper al-Sabah shed light on a statement of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who described the attacks as "treacherous and mean," and his call for the all countries to immediately stop harboring terrorists and refrain from supporting parties adopt hostile stances against the state of Iraq.

Talabani's statement apparently was meant to reiterate Iraq's accusation to Syria of harboring Saddam Hussein's Baath party members on its soil, where they orchestrate deadly attacks inside Iraq.

On Sunday, two explosive-laden trucks rocked Baghdad's Salhiyah neighborhood targeted the ministry of Justice and Baghdad Provincial Council buildings, killing some 132 people and wounding more than 500 others.

The two attacks were the biggest one since the attacks on Aug. 19 when suicide truck bomb attacks targeted two Iraqi ministries, killing and wounding some 1,300 Iraqis.

Al-Sabah also quoted Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi, a Shiite, as saying that "anti-terrorism war actually is an attack and a counter attack, which means that we always have to be at high alert and our security forces have to be always ready to coordinate between their troops and citizens so that they can chase the terrorists and the criminals."

Mahdi condemned the attacks and said they aimed at disturbing the political and security atmospheres in Iraq to show that the Iraqi security forces are not capable of providing security and stability, particularly before the country's national elections due in January, al-Sabah said.

The Iraqi newspaper Azzaman said "Death storms engulf Salhiyah, spilling blood of hundreds of innocents." In another article "Baghdad's black day enrages Iraqis," it described the two bloody attacks and reflected reactions of top Iraqi officials, including Talabani's statement and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's comments during his visit to the devastated sites shortly after the attacks on Sunday.

Maliki said the attacks would not affect the political process or the next January parliamentary elections, and he pledged to punish those who are behind the bombings.

The daily said Maliki reiterated his accusation of the "remnants of the dismantled regime and Qaida militants," referring to Saddam Hussein's Baath party members and Qaida in Iraq organization.

Azzaman also quoted Maj. Gen. Ali Ghaidan, the commander of the Iraqi ground forces as saying that he expected violence "will be increased during the coming nine months as the parliamentary elections are approaching and then until we have a new government."

"I am afraid that any political deadlock may delay the elections, and then there will be impacts on the security situation," Ghaidan said.

Explaining why he expected nine months of violence, Ghaidan said "before the elections there would be a political vacuum which might be used by the terrorists, and after the elections there would be a similar vacuum until the forming of a new government."

"The vacuum is expectedly starting from now to the coming July, but after July there will be a strong government," Ghaidan said.

The vacuum meant by Ghaidan was that the outgoing government will not be active because of struggles and differences among the political parties which will continue before and after the elections until forming a new government.

Meanwhile, the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper said in its first page "A new bloody day in Baghdad" that fear and shock prevailed among Iraqis by the two deadly blasts.

The newspaper also quoted Ghaidan as saying that "neighboring countries are supporting terrorism because terrorism is coming from abroad."

Ghaidan pointed out that information extracted from detainees said "many terrorists have trained in Syria and Iran, and weapons caches found in southern Iraq are coming from Iran."

The al-Masriq newspaper quoted the Shiite lawmaker Jalal al-Dinal-Saghir as saying that "he held the Iraqi security forces the direct responsibility for the Salhiyah attacks."

"Accusing parties from outside Iraq of the attacks is nothing but a way to get rid of responsibility and to cover those who really committed shortcomings" in their duties, Saghir said.

The paper also quoted Mohammed al-Rubaie, a member from Baghdad Provincial Council, which was one of the targets hit on Sunday as saying "the government, the forces affiliated to defense and interior ministries and Baghdad's operations command office are responsible for the attacks by truck carrying tons of explosives which pass across checkpoints."

"They are boasting of security improvement, where is the improvement?" Rubaie said.

Sunday's blasts came as violence dropped dramatically during the past two years since the spike of sectarian strife that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the war-torn country. The attacks revealed the nature of the security situation in the country that insurgents still have the ability to carry out deadly attacks in the heart of Baghdad.

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