Suicide Bombings in Iraq Kill 32, Raise Quesitons about U.S Strategy

Is the insurgence of ISIS coming again?

After two suicide bombs rocked Iraq on Thursday, more people are asking questions about the cogency of the United States’ decrease in security forces across the country.

The suicide bombings struck a busy market in the capital city, Baghdad, and killed 32 people. Though no specific group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, Iraqi security forces claim that the Islamic State is responsible for the attacks. 

The bombings are the latest and most significant in a string of concerning warning signs about the resurgence of ISIS in Iraq, as the number of U.S troops in the country continues to decline. It seems the various terrorist organizations that once held significant land in the country are emboldened by the increasing absence of U.S troops and are attempting to begin another resurgence.

Though it is hard at this point to tell whether these attacks and this pattern of increased Islamic State activity will continue, it certainly is alarmingly reminiscent of the days when ISIS carried out rampant and frequent bombings and attacks against civilian targets.

The attacks also put pressure on the new Biden administration, who now must decide if they will continue to pull out all troops from the country if the pattern continues, or keep some in the country, at the risk of losing popularity with the American people.

The previous Trump administration claimed 16 individual times (The Hill) that ISIS had been defeated in various countries across the Middle East, though many experts contend that “defeating” such a decentralized network like ISIS is nearly impossible to do.

Whenever a significant ISIS leader is killed or dethroned, the organization’s next most powerful individual claims that person’s former spot. The group’s common utilization of suicide bombings is another, more machiavellian example of their disposal and decentralized nature.

There is not even one singular “ISIS” as many believe. The organizations have slightly different goals and leaders in every country and region they operate in (an example of this would be ISIL, the branch that operates in the “Levant” which is closer to Jordan and Syria). Though they are different depending on where they are, all of the organizations are tied together by their anti-western and radical religious ideologies.

Though their recruiting strategies and power in the region have been greatly diminished, the group is still a security threat that must be contended with and acknowledged by any country that plans on operations in the Middle East. 

Many of the most powerful terrorist organizations we know today were created by overlooking or underestimating the power of a group and letting their power grow until they became too powerful to simply ignore. In the countries they operate in, some set up provisional governments and curry the favor of citizens.

Though the Biden administration already has quite an overwhelming laundry list of things to deal with, it looks like they will have to add ISIS onto that list, much like the Obama administration had to only a few years ago.