30 July 2008
THERE'S more bad news from Iraq. A new phenomenon of female suicide bombers has added itself to the long list of woes of the Middle East country. Three female suicide bombers killed more than 60 people in triple devastating attacks across Iraq on Monday.
The bombers targeted a crowd of Shia devotees and a protest rally in Kirkuk in the north. These attacks have shaken the Iraqi government and the coalition that had begun to cautiously celebrate relative improvement in security situation in recent times.
Of course, this is not the first time female suicide bombers have struck in Iraq. And it is not the first country to witness the phenomenon either. Human body as a weapon had been first used in the Middle East by the Palestinians. The Palestinians were in turn inspired and trained by the Tamil Tigers or LTTE of Sri Lanka who put the tactic to deadly use turning it into a lethal art. Rajiv Gandhi, the former Indian PM, was blown up by a female bomber in early '90s.
But coming as it does after weeks and months of relative peace in Iraq, the female suicide bombing has left everyone stunned reminding them of the extremely fragile nature of peace. It is being suggested that since the massive influx of foreign fighters has of late been reduced to a trickle, thanks to increased vigil and crackdown by security forces and cooperation of Iraq's neighbours of course, the insurgents are increasingly turning to women as their weapon of choice.
Whatever the explanation, this is very disturbing. These desperate and despicable tactics by the insurgents must be condemned in strongest terms by everyone. Women are not only homemakers, they build a critical role in building and nurturing society. Using them to destroy homes and innocent bystanders is most shameful.
That said, the new phenomenon must come as a wake-up call to Iraq's leaders. But, instead of cracking down on the families of the female bombers, the Iraqi government and the US-led coalition must take a serious look at why women are taking to these desperate measures. If the Iraqi authorities are keen to prevent such tragedies in the future, it's important to understand what is driving such women.
Invariably, at the heart of all such tragedies are victims of grave injustice. Since the Invasion in 2003, there have been myriad cases of ordinary Iraqis routinely suffering atrocities and human rights abuse at the hands of the coalition troops as well as the Iraqi militias and security forces.
How can the Iraqi people, and the rest of the world, ever forget the shame of Abu Ghraib and much else that has happened after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime? Iraq has been bleeding for five years now and will continue to bleed for years to come. It should surprise no one if all those victimised by this pointless war are now returning to pay back in kind.