Green Zone Effect

Calvey in Iraq:

It is not so surprising to me that a bomb was detonated in the Iraqi Council of Representatives (parliament) meeting place in the International (Green) Zone yesterday as it is surprising it had not happened some time ago.

At the end of the day, if I were a betting man I would lay heavy odds that the culprit is a member of a security detail for an Iraqi politician. Members of such security details apparently don’t have to be searched when they enter. (I’ll bet THAT policy changes now!)

There are recent reports, in fact, that it was a bodyguard.

Meanwhile, it’s 1 dead, not 8, which makes the bad news less bad. But this bit confuses me:

The U.S. military, which reported on Thursday that eight people were killed in the suicide bomb attack in the parliament dining hall, revised the toll sharply downward on Friday to one killed and 22 wounded.

Though I didn’t read exhaustively, all the reports I recall reading said it was an Iraqi official (who wouldn’t give his name because he wasn’t allowed to speak to the press) who was giving the numbers. I don’t recall seeing any official US military announcement of the toll, actually. If I’m wrong, please let me know.

I’m not sure what any motive could be for the US military to release high body counts in this case, because it would just work against them. If the military didn’t officially say “8 dead”, then this description looks to Murdoc like it might be an attempt to blame the military for bad reporting on the part of news organizations. That motive seems a lot easier to swallow.

A possibility that occurs to me is that perhaps this unnamed Iraqi was part of the plot, trying to inflate the toll a bit to inflate the story a bit to inflate the idea that the “surge” is somehow failing a bit.

Regardless, the immediate aftermath of a situation like this is very chaotic. Some folks are blown to smithereens, some are rushed off to hospitals and various aid stations, some take care of themselves, and some just run for it. It’s not surprising that the numbers fluctuate, regardless of the source.

Blackfive has this message from a State Dept source that works with agencies of the Iraqi Parliament:

Actually, despite the reporting I’ve heard from CNN, BBC and NPR, which keeps up the ominous drone of doom about the terrorists breaching the Parliament building in “the heart of the heavily fortified Green Zone,” the FACT is the Parliament building is NOT IN the Green Zone. We turned it over to the Iraqis in 2006. And when it was, it was at the outer NW edge of the Green or International Zone.

Of course, no one here especially expects the press, with its now, 4 year old biases to get it right.

The message goes on to suggest that this might be similar to what has been happening in An Anbar province for some time: AQI (Al Qeada in Iraq) begins attacking Sunnis who don’t toe the anti-Iraq/US line, but it often backfires, pushing fence-sitters over to the democracy side and turning moderates against the terrorists.

I think it’s clear that we don’t know what effect this will have on things. The most important effects, of course, will be those that it has on the Iraqi people, the Iraqi government, and the terrorists and insurgents in Iraq. If they’re heartened by this and step things up, we’ll then have to see what effect that will have.

Unfortunately, the perception effect that the bombing has on US public opinion and on the US government will matter more than the real effects in Iraq.