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Friday, October 30, 2009     GET REAL

Baghdad: 'Negligence or collusion' by police made bombing attacks possible

BAGHDAD — The government has blamed Iraq's police for the failure to stop the Al Qaida bombing campaign.   

Officials said Iraq's civilian police have been accused of failing to stop Al Qaida attacks. They said commanders have been lax in disciplining officers for unbecoming conduct or the failure to execute orders.

"We have found that almost all of the terrorist attacks were successful partly because of negligence and a lack of discipline on the part of the security forces," an official said.

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"It's a human failure," Baghdad Gov. Salah Abdul Razaq said. "It can only be negligence or collusion."

The Interior Ministry has ordered a crackdown on ill-disciplined officers and commanders. Officials said the mega-attacks by Al Qaida in September and October resulted in the suspension of dozens of officers.

On Oct. 29, the Baghdad Operations Command reported a purge of police in wake of the Al Qaida attack in which at least 155 people were killed and 740 injured. The command said 61 police officers and soldiers have been detained and interrogated on charges of negligence in connection with the Al Qaida bombings in Baghdad on Oct. 25.

Officials said 50 police and security guards were arrested along with 11 officers. They said the security personnel, charged with allowing a truck filled with two tons of explosives to reach the Justice Ministry, underwent questioning by a special panel.

"The commission of inquiry into the double attack on Sunday ordered the arrest of 11 officers of various ranks and 50 members of the security forces responsible for the protection of Salhiya," Iraqi security spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta said.

The detainees were said to have included the commanders of at least four police districts in the Baghdad area. Officials said most of those detained would probably be dismissed from the Iraqi security forces.

Officials said the Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry have been ordered to increase vetting of officers and other personnel. They said Al Qaida was suspected of having bribed officers to enable suicide car bombs to reach their targets throughout Iraq.

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