Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered a review of safety systems, after a series of attacks yesterday struck the heart of the capital. He branded the attack - near the "green zone", the seat of government buildings - as a "desperate attempt to derail the political process" and promised action by the executive.
"We must admit our mistakes, just as we celebrate our victories," said al-Maliki, who announced a "review of the plans in the fight against terrorism" and pointed the finger at al Qaeda and the militias linked to former Rais Saddam Hussein . The Prime Minister maintained that the army is "capable of dealing with extremists", who are taking advantage of the "attempt to return to normality" promoted by the government - re-opened roads and streets, the removal of protective barriers in some areas – in order to strike.
Despite government proclamations, attacks continue in Baghdad. Two people died and ten were wounded in a bicycle bomb that targeted civilians near a market in Al-Rasheed. The victims add to the 101 people who died and 500 who were injured yesterday in what was the bloodiest "coordinated attack" in Iraq in the last year.
The withdrawal of American troops from Iraqi cities, which began last June, has raised several concerns about the executive’s capacity to ensure peace and security. According to Baghdad violence is to be attributed to extremists linked to al Qaeda who want to destabilize the country and the process of Iraq’s rebirth.
Analysts and experts on Iraqi politics, however, add that the conflict could have an 'internal' source, linked to the power struggle between Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish factions. In some areas of the country, like Mosul and Kirkuk in the north and Basra in the south - areas rich in oil - the sectarian divisions are “a time bomb” which, if triggered, could shatter dreams of peace and stability throughout Iraq.