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« Patrick Interviewed by Vladimir van Wilgenburg | Main | More Attacks on Kurdish Political Control »

May 09, 2007

Analysis of Truck Bomb in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan

-Patrick S Lasswell

AP Photo
A suicide truck bomb ripped through the Interior Ministry in the relatively peaceful Kurdish city of Irbil on Wednesday, killing 14 people and wounding dozens, officials said.
Ravi Nessman, AP

All of this is based on early reports and some details may be in error on the reports.

1. This was an attack on the Interior Ministry, not a random terror strike. This was intended to do damage to the KRG, not just Kurds in general. If they had wanted to create a body count, they could have driven a kilometer and demolished the Souk. If they had wanted to hurt investment, they would have blown up one of the new malls within a kilometer of Interior Ministry.

2. The Interior Ministry building was placed for prestige, not security. A better location for the government buildings would be someplace out by the Khanzad Pass. There was not enough distance from the very busy road to the center of internal control in the Kurdish Regional Government. This can now be fixed. These buildings can now be moved somewhere out away from where heavy trucks routinely travel.

3. There is no reason to believe this was an inside job. If it had been an inside job, the bomb would have only cratered the building, not the road outside. This was a suicide truck bombing. It is entirely possible that the driver was unaware of the timing of the bomb and may have tried to leave it while someone else was triggering the bomb. It is not hard to rent or steal a truck in Iraqi Kurdistan.

4. There is no good reason to believe that this was done by Arabs.
4a. Ansar al Islam, now Al Qaeda Kurdistan, is perfectly capable of doing this. It actually makes more sense if Kurdish AQK members did this with Iranian assistance, because of the character of the attack.
4b. This was an attack on the KRG, and the primary opponents of the KRG are Turkey and Iran.
4c. Intolerant Gulf Arabs would not fund this sort of thing while there are still Shia and Americans to be killed. The Baath remnants are far too busy creating hell in the South and attempting to steal oil contracts to make this a priority.
4d. Iranians are routinely funding this sort of thing, and this could be direct payback for the five Iranian operatives that were taken with KRG consent in December.
4e. If Turkey is found to be behind this, there will be hell to pay. It is very unlikely that the PKK lost their minds and did this.
4f. Turkey is not regularly getting caught engaging in terror actions in Iraq, and Iran is. It would be much easier for Iran to finance this and use AQK Kurds than for anyone else.

I will try to stay on top of this story and update my analysis here and on my blog. Please feel free to critique my analysis and send me updates directly.

Hawler at Night with Kurdistan Flag on Citadel.jpg
The Kurdistan Flag Still Flies in Hawler
Please Support Independent Reporting from Iraq
Email address is mrs.risk at gmail dot com

UPDATE: Death toll rises to 19, with 87 wounded according to latest AP reports. In Suliamaniya, security is very tight amid rumors of an attack planned for tomorrow according to firsthand reports.

Photo of explosion from Kurdistan News The importance of this attack is the location, not the intensity. This is actually one of the smaller bombs today.

Editor's note: Truther and other offensive commentary will not be published.


Nice analysis. The Irbil 5 Iranian connection - either surface or likely just beneath - seems both most logical and most intriguing.

The Irbil 5 connection was also obviously present for the Karbala operation in January where US soldiers were abducted and summarily executed roadside. (Curious what you think of this analysis a week later, Patrick.)



I am convinced that the Islamic Republic of Iran is at war with the US. The Quods Force kidnapping and this latest attack certainly are alter my security precautions for the next trip. I would like to elaborate, but you know why I can't. This actually increases my expenses for further trips.

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/09/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

I'm always suspicious of any analysis of the M.E. that uses the "Who benefits?" approach, and prefer hard evidence before pointing fingers at perpetrators.

Good analysis, Patrick, thanks for posting on it. I would agree that the Kurdish folks won't put up wit AQs bloody antics, based on what you, the Mikes, Totten and Yon, and Bill Roggio have observed. The Kurds sound like my kind of folks, I wish them the best. I hope the Sunni sheiks in the Anbar Salvation Council are taking their guidance from the Kurds on how to be prosperous. Sidenote: I saw that the oil bill is going to be voted on before Parliament adjourns.

I agree with your conclusions, but proving them will be another matter.

The driver might be from an outside ME country, or just some dumb guy trying to make money for his family. I think he was going to run, when it was detonated under him.

Nobody said these guys play fair and square.

The Kurds will have ears on the streets in the Arab hides and will come up with some info sooner or later.

Or maybe not.

Yea, bad placement for a building of this type and use.

Live and learn.

Papa Ray
West Texas

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