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Suilcide blast at "Assasin's Gate" was a total surprise

"Assasin's Gate" is the nickname of the protective barrier that keeps suicide bombers from blowing up important people
"Assasin's Gate" is the barrier at Saddam Hussein's former residence, the presidential palace. I believe it is Iraq's version of the Arc De Triomphe, with two giant swords crossing each other.

Last Sunday a truck bomb filled with plastic explosives detonated outside of the gate early in the morning as people lined up to seek work from the CPA. The CPA is currently using Saddam's former palace as it's headquarters. At last count, the bomb had killed 31 people and injured 120, and perhaps every last person was Iraqi, except for a couple American soldiers who were injured, and maybe one or two foreign contractors. So it led some people to believe that the bomb was the work of foreign terrorists, and not Iraqi rebels. Those people work for the CPA or Pentagon, I believe.

However, most people would assume that it was the work of Iraqi rebels, or insurgents, and that the fact that it blew up where it did was because it would have been impossible for it to get inside, to get to the CPA compound, the "green zone." The driver could have tried, but he wouldn't have made it. Maybe he panicked and detonated too early. But it's certain he wouldn't have got far.

The CPA officials said that the attack was timed to kill the largest amount of people possible, meaning that the attackers were planning on killing Iraqi civilians and not Americans. What they don't point out though is that since they're so well protected from the people, whether they're ordinary Iraqis or rebels, any attack like this is going to kill and injure a huge amount of civilians. The American forces learned early on to erect barriers and shield themselves from the violence going on outside.

I find it interesting that now in Iraq you have a situation much like it was in the 90's. There's a small minority of people behind gates and barriers, in palaces, and then there's a group that's trying to attack them and drive them from office. And the one's suffering most are the Iraqi civilians. Through the 90's the sanctions and occasional bombings did nothing except kill hundreds of thousands of civilians, mostly children, and empower Saddam Hussein.

There's a good, descriptive article in the Post about the bombing. There was two of them, this one being the better and more descriptive one.
 http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26856-2004Jan18.htm

The article describes how American soldiers hunkered down behind cement barriers and sandbags, weapons drawn, watching the chaos just after the bomb went off. I don't criticize that--I'd do the same thing if I heard something like that and felt the ground shake and felt fire on my face. But it shows you how well protected they are becoming, and how vulnerable Iraqi civilians still are.

So far, no one knows who the bomber was or who he was trying to kill, whether or not he was going to try and drive through the gates. We only know who paid the price, and I'm sure it's no consolation to the Iraqis that this sudden brutal death didn't come from the sky.