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October Today in Terrorism

October 25, 2009: Car bombs in Baghdad

Two car bombs exploded near the Green Zone in Baghdad in October 2009 killing more than 100 people and wounding more than 500

Two car bombs exploded near the Green Zone in Baghdad in October 2009 killing more than 100 people and wounding more than 500.

BAGHDAD, IRAQ – The US decision to invade Iraq to remove dictator Saddam Hussein unleashed a terrorist scourge on the locals.

If we look across the centuries at moves made by governments we see a lot of occasions on which bad actions were taken based on bad analysis. Sometimes that bad analysis was in turn driven by previously arranged agendas: in other words, the end results were predetermined and whatever process was put in place to arrive at a policy was a facade.

The move by the Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2003 was one such incident. Still reeling from 9/11, members of that government had settled on going into Iraq while the two towers in New York were still smoldering and the intelligence agencies were told to find out a good reason to put Iraq in the picture (here is a great interview by Michael Morrell with a senior intel analyst who was at the centre of this boondoggle).

“I’m not sure what this is on my finger but I know it proves something about Iraq and terrorism” (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

I will not go over yet again why I think that the whole affair was a huge mistake as many, many others have already done so. What is important to remember, though, is that in addition to the questionable overthrow of a sovereign government those that suffered most were the Iraqi people themselves (contrary to pie-in-the-sky thinking by some in the Bush administration, the US Army was not greeted as ‘liberators’). It would take several volumes to go over the hundreds of thousands of deaths that arose from the US presence.

Most importantly, the invasion actually created (i.e. it did not destroy) one of the most crucial rationales offered in the justification for the decision in the first place: terrorism. Iraq was NOT a friendly host for Islamist terrorist groups on 9/11 but sure as hell became one after. And normal Iraqis have suffered the consequences.

On this day in 2009 at least 132 people were killed and 520 injured in two car bomb attacks in Baghdad which occurred outside the ministry of justice and a provincial government office near the heavily fortified Green Zone. It was the deadliest attack in Iraq since August 2007 and came three months after the US handed security control of cities to local forces.

These cowardly terrorist attacks must not affect the determination of the Iraqi people to continue their struggle against the remnants of the dismantled regime and al-Qaeda terrorists, who committed a brutal crime against civilians.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki

These attacks have yet to subside a decade later. The US action to take over an independent country that posed no threat to it continues to harm normal Iraqis.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Programme Director for the Security, Economics and Technology (SET) hub at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of five books on terrorism.

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