Iraqi security forces collaborated with bombers: FM
Aug 22 06:59 AM US/Eastern
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Saturday alleged there had been collaboration between Iraqi security forces and the insurgents whose massive truck bombings killed 95 people three days ago.
Zebari, whose ministry lost 32 workers in the blast at its headquarters, admitted the attacks were a serious security setback and that the government had failed to protect its citizens.
Wednesday's bombings at the ministeries of foreign affairs and finance culminated in the worst day of violence seen in the conflict-hit country in 18 months, with around 600 people also wounded.
"How could this truck pass unless there is collaboration?" Zebari told reporters in Baghdad.
"There was collaboration between security forces and the terrorist group to facilitate the passing of this truck through such a sensitive area."
Zebari said Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had ordered the arrest of 11 senior security officers on Thursday so they could be questioned on how a four-tonne truck had entered an area where even two-tonne vehicles were barred.
He also made the first official admission that the blasts signalled that security gains made in the past year were under serious strain following a series of deadly attacks in recent months.
"They have been moving their attacks... now they have focused on their main concern, their main attention, on Baghdad and this is a dangerous and a serious development and a security setback," said Zebari.
"This has been going on for the last two months. Every week, every two weeks we see a wave of these bombings and killings of innocent people."
Premier Maliki said after Wednesday's bombings that the attacks were "a desperate attempt to derail the political process and affect the parliamentary elections," planned for January 2010.
But Zebari went further and called for a re-appraisal of the country's entire security apparatus as it was not, he said, obtaining sufficient intelligence to counter the enemy threat.
"The Iraqi government and security forces are doing their best but our enemy is mobile so we know how hard it is," he said.
"Sometimes you can't fight these people with checkpoints. You should be mobile. You should go after them you, disrupt and penetrate their network to get human information. This is the key," he added.