Analysts: Wave of attacks in Iraq planned

July 24, 2012 at 7:34 AM
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BAGHDAD, July 24 (UPI) -- A series of attacks in more than 15 cities and towns across Iraq killed at least 110 people and wounded hundreds more, officials said.

The attacks Monday were in predominantly Shiite areas and the casualties were largely Iraqi security personnel, indicating they required planning, resources and experience, Voice of America reported.

Shiite-dominant targets "would fit with [the perpetrators] being al-Qaida in Iraq," said Toby Iles, a Middle East editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London.

Anthony Cordesman, an Iraq expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Sunni jihadist groups tied to al-Qaida have several motives for conducting large-scale attacks, VOA said.

"Part of these are to attack and kill Iraqi officials, part of them are to create high visibility attacks, which get a lot of coverage and convince people that the government cannot provide security," Cordesman said. Another objective is to "bring back the kind of ethnic and sectarian fighting that took place earlier in the mid-2000s and was essentially a civil war."

But he said there were some weaknesses, notably that the attacks happen intermittently, take time to organize and have missed a critical target.

Voice of America said Iraq's average monthly civilian death toll was slightly more than 300 in the first half of 2012, a slight decrease from 2011 and 2010. The casualty rate is significantly lower than at the height of Iraq's sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007, which had death tolls surpassing 2,000.

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