Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Not just another bombing

In the course of the daily mayhem that we learn about in Iraq, it's easy to overlook occurrences that seem routine, but are not. One of those seems to be a bombing described in an article in Conflicts Forum, Behind the Mansour Hotel bombing.
The noontime bombing that killed a dozen Iraqis at Baghdad’s Mansour Melia Hotel on June 25 continues to reverberate through Iraq — and through the American military high command. This was not a “typical” bombing (if there is such a thing in Iraq): it was well-planned and executed and the bomber was required to penetrate three levels of security, which included armed guards deployed by Iraq’s Defense Ministry. The bomb’s detonation was so powerful that it blew the doors off the Mansour’s heavily enforced dining room and caved in the dining room ceiling, according to a hotel employee.
The tribal leaders were coming to the hotel to meet with a delegation of government representatives including Ahmad Chalabi, none of whom had yet arrived, according to Iraqi government officials. “The bombing was a devastating loss for our efforts in Anbar,” an American official in Iraq says. “We are still trying to piece together what happened.” The official confirms that the tribal sheiks had been brought together at the Mansour Hotel at the suggestion of General David Patraeus who, along with a number of civilian Defense Department officials, had been working to forge an alliance of anti-al Qaeda tribal leaders in the western province. This was not the first time the group had met, but it was to be an important meeting — the last in a series that included serious negotiations about what steps the tribal leaders would take in ending the al-Anbar insurgency. “The meeting at the Mansour was to be a culmination of years of work,” an Iraqi official confirms.
So the 'progress' that had been made in Anbar, basically by bribing tribal sheiks to turn against the more extreme members of the insurgency, and peal off the less extreme, got blown up in a meeting engineered by the Best General EVAR Petraeus. What a mastermind!

Also to note is the almost presence of Ahmad Chalabi, who's charmed life continues. The conclusion:
The anti-al Qaeda front of al-Anbar lives on, but its leaders remain unwilling to tie their future to a continued American presence. In this, they have much in common with their Shia antagonists both in the Iraqi government, and in the tribal areas of the South. As one al-Anbar official scathingly notes: “The lesson of the Mansour bombing is simple for all to see. No one likes al-Qaeda, but no one should make the mistake of being friends with the Americans.”
I suggest you read the whole article.


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