In a coordinated attack as devastating as it was ruthlessly efficient, three bombs unleashed minutes apart on Monday wrecked landmark Baghdad hotels catering to foreigners, wilting a tattered sense of security and underscoring the uncertainty of the political landscape weeks before parliamentary elections.
The bombings, which killed 36 people and wounded 71, seemed to be the latest chapter of a campaign that began in August and that has hewn to a relentlessly political logic. With similar attacks in August, October and December, insurgents have sought to wreck pillars of Baghdad’s government and civic life, proving that the government and its security forces are unable to preserve the state’s fledgling authority.
The targets on Monday were hotels that served foreign journalists and expatriate businessmen, and they were soon to house observers of the March 7 parliamentary elections, suggesting that the attack was aimed as much at shaping opinions abroad of the government’s durability as it was aimed at wreaking destruction.
“The attackers wanted to send a message to the world,” said Hazim al-Nuaimi, a political analyst here. “The message is that Iraq can’t provide security for foreigners.” [continued…]