Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

US Plans to ‘Fortify’ Green Zone in Baghdad amid Continued Rocket Attacks

US Plans to ‘Fortify’ Green Zone in Baghdad amid Continued Rocket Attacks

Sunday, 24 January, 2021 - 06:45
Iraqi security forces gather at a checkpoint into the Green Zone in Baghdad, Dec. 10, 2018. (Reuters)

The US embassy in Baghdad announced that it was presenting 20 million dollars to fortify the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in wake of months of rocket attacks against it.

The announcement was made two days after ISIS claimed responsibility for devastating twin suicide bombings in Baghdad that left dozens dead and wounded.

Pro-Iran factions also launched rocket attacks against Baghdad international airport, in what observers said was an attempt to “undermine the state and harm civilians.”

Meanwhile, media affiliated with the armed factions confirmed that the Victoria military base and an American barracks inside the Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign missions, were damaged during the latest rocket attack.

Government media denied the claim, saying that the rockets had struck a civilian zone and that no casualties were reported.

The government media cell said that three rockets were fired towards Baghdad airport late on Friday. Two landed outside the facility and the third hit a civilian residence. No one was injured in the attack.

As with previous attacks, the joint operations command vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. As with previous attacks, no one has yet to be arrested.

“We will not allow such attacks against Baghdad airport to be repeated,” said the joint operations command.

The attack did not affect aviation at the airport and flights were operating normally.

Commenting on the recent spate of attacks in the capital, head of the Center for Political Thinking in Iraq, Dr. Ihssan Shmary said they are all aimed at undermining the state and its institutions and threatening the lives of ordinary citizens.

“The groups behind the rocket and suicide attacks are seeking to prove their power by targeting regular civilians, the Green Zone and western and American interests in Iraq,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“The majority of Iraqis are increasingly feeling that the state is absent and its counter-attacks against armed groups are only emboldening them to continue to violate the constitution and law,” he said.

They are all beginning to lump these groups in one category as outlaw criminals, he said.

Academic Sattar al-Wasti said the forces behind the rocket attacks and those behind the suicide attacks are one and the same.

“All military and terrorist attacks fall under the same category of undermining security and deliberately targeting innocent people,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

They are ultimately putting the government in a “tight spot before the people and world”.

“I believe that the government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi will be unable to overcome this problem without regional, international and political understandings,” he added.

Editor Picks