At least 39 people were killed and over 100 injured when a series of bombs rocked Baghdad on Tuesday in attacks that follow Sunday’s near-simultaneous suicide car bombs that killed 40 people and wounded hundreds.
The immediate assumption will be that these attacks either send a political message or seek to exploit the post-election, some would stay uncertain, political climate as blocs make and break alliances for the purposes of forming a government.
It is, however, too easy to assume that every attack comes with some sort of a political message. The objective for terrorists now seems to be to deploy high-casualty, high-profile mass-terror attacks focused around the quality of both the outcome and target rather than the quantity of bombs. Attacks in Iraq also now tend to be more of a case of striking at chance rather than at will.
The ultimate aim is of course to undermine Iraq’s political and democratic system. (In other words, irrespective of the elections and foreign interference in Iraqi affairs, these bombings may have still taken place). And doing so requires dictating public perception; that is, have the public loose faith in their government and its security forces. Terrorists, however, tried this before the elections but failed since the democratic process went ahead successfully and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki went on to perform strongly, despite initial observations that suggested the pre-election bombings will hurt his electoral chances.
Iraq is entering a sensitive period, during which, in tandem with the settling of the political framework, US combat troops are expected to withdraw by the end of August. The US presence in Iraq is still very much a raison d’être for Iraq’s extremist/terrorist groups and they may do anything and everything to prolong it.
Outside of these groups, there will be those in Iraq’s political circles, wary of hostile domestic and external forces that have influence far superior than their own, who will also seek a strong US presence believing this to be a necessary and imperative counter-measure against these other powers.