One day after bombings killed about 100 people in Baghdad, the Iraqi armed forces manned checkpoints very well, at least on main roads. The devices that should detect explosives are being used now. Streets look empty, but cars form long lines at checkpoints.
The entry checkpoints to Baghdad from Al Anbar banned all long vehicles from entering to the city this morning. Iraqi army soldiers stopped hundreds of trucks on the highway that connect Baghdad to two Arab countries; Syria and Jordan from entering to the capital.
“No trucks for today” an Iraqi army soldiers told the drivers who gathered to understand.
No cars can enter Baghdad or to cross a bridge inside Baghdad without being checked by the soldiers. But it is too late.
The insurgency in Iraq has proved to be flexible and capable to change its tactics but the Iraqi forces are not. The main security plan that the Iraqi forces depend on is fixed checkpoints. American officers always complained that their Iraqi partners don’t like to get out on foot patrols, favoring those checkpoints instead.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki met his security ministers and other military commanders to review their security plan to face the attacks. It is a good sign to realize there is something wrong.
Again this is one step behind those who mastered the last bombings.
Several people I talked to in Fallujah and Baghdad are full of doubt. They wonder how a truck loaded with more than one ton of explosives could escape more than 200 checkpoints throughout Baghdad?!
If you are driving your car in Baghdad there will be one way to escape checkpoints without being searched properly, I mean after the explosive detectors point to your car, and that way is to show them a badge. A badge of an officer will be the perfect way.
The fact that there were officers of the presidential guards involved in a bank theft and killing eight guards at the end of last month made people suspect anything.
The detention of officers to investigate yesterday’s attacks came as a proof to that theory.
Former officers of the army and police think the security plan is poor and cannot bring security because it depends merely on checkpoints and blast walls. Under Saddam there were no more than few checkpoints on the main roads that enter Baghdad, yet security for citizens was better. Add to that depending on checkpoints to impose security is not a solution because car bombs might explode and cause casualties among the civilians who are waiting in checkpoints.
In other words, if car bombs are on street it doesn’t matter where it will explode because, whatever they hit, they are still a security breech.
I hope the government and all its friends will make their best this time trying not to be one step behind.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
"Inside Iraq" is a blog updated by Iraqi journalists who have worked for McClatchy Newspapers. They are based in Baghdad. These are firsthand accounts of their experiences. Their complete names are withheld for security purposes.
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