Baghdad Bombing ignites Demand for Better Security

He acknowledged that one significant lapse in security stemmed from the use of ineffective sonar devices, known as ADE-651, designed to detect explosives. These sonar devices were proved useless years ago and were the subject of a scandal. The British government suspended the work of the company that manufactured them — ATSC — on the grounds of fraud and referred its owner, Jim McCormick, for criminal investigation in 2010.

Yet this failed bomb detection system, which Iraq had purchased for $85 million, was used at all checkpoints in Iraq and was sometimes the only means of inspection. Several papers were published saying that the deal to buy the devices was fraudulent and corrupt.

After the explosion, Abadi immediately ordered that the device no longer be used, but most checkpoints in the capital are still using it, under the excuse that they did not receive an official notice to remove it. Moreover, withdrawing the device is not enough, as there is no effective alternative. There are currently only suggestions for alternatives, such as installing cameras and deploying dogs, which were proposed July 4 by the parliament’s Defense and Security Committee.

Abadi ordered the Ministry of Interior on July 3 to expedite the installation of scanners to inspect cars at all the entrances to Baghdad and its districts. But to legally implement these suggestions, they should be voted on, which takes time. Then, the right equipment should be bought and staff should undergo training. In addition, the problem of corruption and administrative slackening in Iraq does not help — which means the idea that an alternative will be implemented in the near future is far-fetched.

(Security image via Shutterstock)

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