August 16, 2012: More than 100 killed in a series of bombings in Iraq

On that day in 2012, more than 100 were killed and 400 injured in a series of bombings and attacks across Iraq as the country exited the US occupation phase.

The 2003 US decision to invade Iraq was wrong on so many levels: that includes opening the door to more violence for Iraqis.

IRAQ — You would think that opting to send your military thousands of kilometres over the ocean to attack/invade and occupy another country would be effected only after a convoluted thought process. After all, it is not cheap, puts your own citizens at risk, and could lead to long-term consequences.

The US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was one such moment. Based in part on faulty intelligence, a post 9/11 fear of the ‘other shoe dropping’ and a general desire to ‘get even’, the Bush II administration sent tens of thousands of soldiers to do several things:

  • Get rid of the dictator Saddam Husayn (not a bad thing, but…);
  • Get rid of Iraq’s (non-existent) WMDs;
  • Punish Iraq for its (non-existent) role in 9/11; and
  • Pursue Al Qaeda (AQ) to the ends of the earth (problem: AQ was not really in Iraq until AFTER the US invaded the country).

I do not have statistics on how many Iraqis were killed during the US invasion and occupation but I am pretty sure it is a large number. The post US phase is no better: there are terrorist attacks in Iraq every day of the week. The country is no closer to becoming safe and secure than when the Americans went in.

On this day in 2012

Some days, however, are more violent than others. On this day in 2012, a wave of attacks across the country killed more than 100 people and wounded more than 400, including dozens of women and children at an amusement park. The attacks, a series of car bombings, roadside bombings and armed assaults in Baghdad and five other provinces, also killed army security officers and police officers.

It is unclear which group was behind some of the violence although AQ in Iraq was suspected: it had said at the beginning of the holy Muslim month of Ramadhan that it would go on the offensive.

Douglas A. Ollivant, an Iraq expert, said Iraq is “a fragile state deeply traumatized and riven by 30 years of war, sanctions, occupation and civil strife“.

I suspect Iraq has many, many more years of violence ahead of it. No, this was not all the fault of the US invasion as Husayn was brutal in his own right. But the US presence did not help. At all.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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