Another wave of terror, and the significance of what happens next...
Baghdad experienced another wave of attacks today. These are more of the same: "thematic" terrorism, that is the newest mark, and boast, of the Al-Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). Today's attack was all about blowing up residential buildings. The randomness, as well as the target choice, are meant to create a sense of enduring unease: ISI terrorist cells, which could be as few as 5-7 in the capital, still have the wherewithal to pull off such acts, so what will they hit next?
They've already hit ministries and government institutions (the August 19, October 25, and December 8, 2009 attacks), hotels (January 25, 2010), embassies (April 5, 2010), as well as today's attacks. The ISI has consistently claimed responsibility for these attacks. The attacks are part of the ISI's 'Raid of the Prisoner-of-War' offensive, which so far have had six waves.
A week ago, the media arm of the ISI, the Al-Furqan, released a 35 minute video (can be viewed directly here), which shows the first wave of attacks, against the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Aug. 19, 2009. Lending credence to these claims is new footage from three seperate angles of the attacks on the Finance Ministry, which were clearly shot by ISI operatives. It is harder to do so in the area of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since there are many government departments in that busy area and anyone trying to film anything would have been noticed by security personel as well as bystanders.
About 100 Iraqis died in that first round. The combined total deaths of all six attacks could be around 400, as well as hundreds, if not thousands, of injured. Since then, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been back to work, and its building is undergoing a face-lift to fix the damages. The apartment blocks around the ministry have all been fixed (...my neighborhood), and repainted. The school across from the ministry is being refurbished. Life goes on, despite the mayhem and fear the terrorists unleashed that day. I don't know whether this is a testimony to the resilience of Iraqis, or of humanity as a whole, but the world should take note. It is easy to be paralyzed with fear. That is what the ISI is going for. But somehow, life goes on. Iraq goes on. Iraqis don't lose heart, they don't seem to fall apart. I wish more news outlets would report on that weird, and life-affirming, phenomenon. The terrorists, as their video shows, get a high from the media exposure given to their attacks. But what if the media begins reporting on the other reality, that Iraqis seemingly get back on their feet after every violent news cycle? Wouldn't that demoralize the terrorists?