VBIED: Learning security the hard way
As many of you have seen in the news, there have been a string of Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs). The kinds of events tend to keep me and my team members busy with emails, phone calls, and meetings. Realistically, it doesn’t take up all my time. However, because of security reasons, I can’t always write in the moment.
The Big VBIED: The one that really made the news happened very close to where I work. On that particular day there were three VBIEDs, a rocket attack and mortar attacks, all in different areas. We heard two of the VBIEDs. The first one was a smaller boom. It was hard to tell if it was a small IED close by, or a large IED farther away, but it rattled our windows. These types of explosions don’t really get much attention because, a. we are used to the explosions, and b. the Iraqi Army does controlled detonations of captured weapons caches that they are destroying.
The second explosion happened ten minutes after the first. It was much larger and much closer. It rocked the trailers we lived in and this time got everybody’s attention. We ran over to look at the “Eye in the Sky” to see what was going on. We could see the giant plumes of smoke and the stopped traffic. We knew it was something big. Within hours, it had made international news.
Why the string of violence?
In JAN 2010, Iraqi Prime Minister is up for re-election. With the pull-out of Coalition Forces from the cities, terrorists supporting one or many of the several hundred political parties in Iraq, have decided now is a good time to destabilize their country, prove that security in Iraqi is weak, instill fear into the populace and ensure PM Maliki is not re-elected.
How is it happening?
Iraqi security has some flaws. Ok, that is an understatement. But due to the recent leak of a letter from a Colonel I know that made it to the New York Times, I am not going to extend my comments further than that.
Immediately following the bombings, the blame game started. There were emergency meetings between the top leaders in Iraq and everyone started pointing their fingers at each other. One general, who covers a large part of the command where one of the VBIEDs happened, went on Iraqi television and blamed his superior. At that point, the only decision to be made was to either laugh or cry in a hysterical fit.
For the last several years, the US has been advising and training the Iraqis on security, but sometimes, just like my kids, they don’t want to listen. They want to figure these things out the hard way.
We are now at “The Hard Way”.