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Iraqis Say Many Reasons For Uptick In Deadly Bombings


An Iraqi weeps as he walks away from the ministries of Justice and Labor following a suicide bombing in October.

An Iraqi weeps as he walks away from the ministries of Justice and Labor following a suicide bombing in October.

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi politicians and other officials say that interdepartmental rivalries, infiltration by Ba'athists, incompetence, political score-settling, and overworked security personnel are some of the reasons for the recent spike in deadly bombing attacks in the country, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Iman al-Asadi, a member of the parliamentary Sadrist bloc, told RFI that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki admitted during questioning in parliament on December 10 that "relations are tense between the Interior and Defense ministries with the forces of both ministries sometimes working against each other."

She described the relationship between two power ministries as "highly volatile."

Maliki spent nearly four hours in front of legislators answering questions about Iraq's security problems.

Abdullah Aliaway, a member of the Kurdish bloc in parliament, told RFI that "Maliki complained that he could not fill the post of head of intelligence as all factions covet the job on the basis of the existing power-sharing arrangement."

Aliaway added that "the quota system designed to keep the various factions happy militates against the tested rule of the right man in the right place."

Saad al-Muttalibi, Iraq's deputy minister for national dialogue, told RFI that "political squabbling is creating a favorable climate for the remaining pockets of Al-Qaeda to operate in Iraq but an even bigger danger is the infiltration of former Ba'athists into security agencies."

Lieutenant General Jihad al-Jabiri, the commander of the country's bomb squadron, told RFI that security personnel operating explosive-detection devices are supposed to be relieved every two hours, "but our staff members work from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. nonstop and, out of sheer exhaustion, they simply cannot carry on checking the vehicles as required."

Iraqis in Baghdad told RFI that they are skeptical about new explosive-detection technology, saying that the devices can be triggered by such innocuous substances as perfume and hair bleach. One woman told RFI that her car was once turned inside out before they discovered that the beep was caused by her "new tooth filling."

Jim Blakes, a representative of the British company ATSC, which produces the new portable explosive-detection devices being used in Baghdad, told RFI that the technical precision "of our equipment was thoroughly tested" and that mishandling or misuse of the devices may be the reason for any problems.
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