Bombings in Baghdad Leave at Least 63 Dead: Will the U.S. Regret Withdrawal?
A dozen bombs blew up in Baghdad around 6:30 am local time on Thursday, as the bustle of the day began and shops opened.
According to The New York Times, “Using car bombs and improvised explosives, insurgents attacked markets, grocery stores, schools and government buildings in a dozen neighborhoods in the central and eastern parts of the capital.” Though the police managed to find three booby-trapped cars before they injured anyone, the successful attacks killed over 60 people and injured at least 200 more.
Coming in the wake of last week’s official end to the U.S. military presence in Iraq, the bombings throw back into question whether the administration should be congratulated or criticized for failing to come to an agreement with the Iraqi government that would have allowed the U.S. to maintain a presence in the country. Most Americans agreed that our soldiers should genuinely and completely withdraw. Yet if the country is thrown into turmoil, the withdraw may lead some to believe that as much as many were frustrated by our near-decade long presence there, those years and the money spent will have been an even greater waste of time and resources if the infrastructure there begins to dissolve.
Of course, it’s not just Americans that wanted the U.S. out. While Al-Jazeera reported mixed reactions to the withdrawal, the anecdotal opinions they collected indicate that more were in favor of the action.
I wouldn’t say it’s surprising for there to be some turmoil in the wake of U.S. withdrawal; we’ve been there almost a decade, and it will certainly take time for Iraqi institutions to accommodate that shift. Yet what we could not foresee at the beginning of this ordeal but what may now act as positive reinforcement for the country is the Arab Spring this year. Although the situation in Iraq came about in a much different manner, they are on some level now in a similar situation – that is, combating tensions and power struggles within yet wanting to succeed in creating a government that answers to the people rather than to an authoritative dictator.
While Egypt’s military has faced allegations of violence towards women, Syria is in the midst of an incredibly violent protests which may or may not be allayed by the Arab League peace agreement, and the fate of other countries involved in Arab Spring movements are far from settled, the resilience of civilians in these countries is a monument to the self-determination of people determined to make government fair, representative, and democratic. While today’s news makes many doubt whether the administration’s decision to give up on negotiations that would have kept some troops in Iraq, I have hope in the fact that the country has other nations in the region to look to as they figure out how best to deal with the conflicts and power struggles sure to continue in the coming months.
[Photo from Wikimedia Commons]
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