The explosion at the Tayran Square in Baghdad earlier this week is the worst terrorist attack to target the capital and its citizens in a long time. We can draw one conclusion from this attack which was carried out in this particular area and after one day from the explosion at the Aden Square: Terrorism is back.
Nothing prevents terrorism from returning to how it was years ago when it struck on a pretty much daily basis. Many believed terrorism escalated during that past phase due to security negligence and many noted that the latter is due to corruption in state institutions, including in the security and military institutions which did not take into consideration patriotic, professional and ethical standards when appointing commanders.
Appointments were rather made based on personal relations and according to the quota system. Invading Mosul as easily as one sips water and then invading one third of the country exposed the reality of the situation only after it was too late.
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Ever since liberating Mosul, many noted that defeating ISIS does not signify the defeat of terrorism. Terrorism does not tire. It has its own agenda that it would do all it can to execute. Terrorism often exploits security institutions’ inattention and the corruption among some of its members to achieve its aims.
The explosions at Tayran and Aden squares reveal the weakness of security institutions’ readiness to confront terrorism. They do not only reveal how weak their intelligence apparatus is but also how weak they are in terms of quickly dealing with them to mitigate their consequences.
Security institution’s command and the premiership should have known that ISIS and other terror groups will go back to urban warfare tacticAdnan Hussein
The security institution’s command and the premiership should have known that ISIS and other terrorist groups will go back to adopting the terrorist urban warfare tactic that relies on suicide bombings and explosions. They should have also known that there are now two factors which incite terrorist organizations to resort to this tactic again: the defeat during last year’s war and the upcoming elections.
Realizing these two factors would have helped the security institution and the premiership understand the importance of activating intelligence work and of taking precautions in the capital and other cities, such as providing efficient security presence in areas which will more likely be targeted by terrorist acts and which are often densely-populated areas.
This efficient presence does not only mean deploying a large number of security forces as they must also work properly and not spend their time yawning or playing on their smart phones.
Security is a top priority. This is how it should have been. This is how it should be now and how it should be in the future. The upcoming phase, i.e. from this moment until a new government is formed following the elections, is likely to witness relentless terrorist attacks.
This terrorism will not be limited to ISIS and other groups as the terrorism of rival political groups that are fighting over authority, influence and money must not be overlooked.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Adnan Hussein is the executive editor-in-chief of Al-Mada newspaper and head of the National Union of Iraqi journalists. Previously, he has held the position of Managing Editor in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets under the handle @adnanhussein.