Irak vor der Wahl: Jedem seine improvisierte Bombe

--- Wired News berichtet über die eifrigen und improvisierenden Bombenbastler im Irak, die der US-Armee immer stärker zusetzen: When U.S. Army Capt. Christopher Sullivan was killed last week by a handmade bomb, it was a tragedy for his family -- and a tragically ordinary event for the American military. Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, have been responsible for hundreds of American casualties in Iraq. And so far, there doesn't appear to be any reliable way of stopping them. The Pentagon, scrambling for answers, is in the middle of a frantic search for high-tech methods to find and neutralize the jury-rigged weapons. Microwave blasts, radio-frequency jammers and chemical sensors are among the methods being explored and deployed in this largely secret effort. But, because IEDs are cobbled together from "whatever the people that plant them can find," warned Cliff Anderson, a program manager at the Office of Naval Research, "there is no magic bullet" that will suddenly end the IED threat. Almost anything that blows up can be turned into an IED, from grenades to plastic explosives to leftover mines. The most everyday of electronics -- a cell phone, a garage door opener, a child's remote-control toy -- can be recast as a trigger. And the hiding places for the handmade bombs are everywhere: in the ground, aboard a truck, even inside an animal carcass. ... So far, the strongest push to silence the bombs has come from the Army, which has ordered thousands of radio-frequency jammers from Simi Valley, California, firm EDO Communications & Countermeasures. The devices, called Warlock Green and Warlock Red, intercept "the signal sent from a remote location to the IED instructing it to detonate," an Army official told military newsletter Inside Defense. The signal "cannot make contact, therefore when it can't make contact it doesn't detonate," he added. "(It's like) the cell phone never gets through, but (enemy forces) think it goes through."

In der Zwischenzeit haben die USA noch an der Meldung zu knabbern, dass das Töten wenige Tage vor der Wahl im Irak "munter" weiter geht, auch nachdem der angebliche Oberbombenbauer Sarkawis gefangen genommen wurde: Thirty-one U.S. troops were killed in a desert helicopter crash and six more died in insurgent attacks Wednesday on the deadliest day for American forces since they led the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. With just four days before Iraq's national election, at least 23 Iraqis were also reported killed Wednesday in a series of suicide bombings and ambushes by insurgents intent on disrupting the vote. Anxious residents are preparing for a virtual three-day national lockdown beginning Friday, in which Iraq's borders will be sealed, schools and businesses closed and driving banned. The military transport helicopter crash, which killed 30 Marines and one sailor, occurred during bad weather as troops conducted a mission to prepare for Sunday's election, officials said. The cause of the crash was under investigation and the names of the victims were not released immediately by the military. There were no survivors, officials said. Bush hält derweil krampfhaft an seiner längst schal gewordenen Befreiungsrhetorik fest: President Bush, who is facing growing skepticism at home over his handling of the war, expressed condolences to the victims' families and urged Americans to be patient with progress in Iraq. "The story today is going to be very discouraging to the American people," the president said during a White House news conference. "I understand that. We value life. And we weep and mourn when soldiers lose their life." "But it is the long-term objective that is vital," Bush said, "and that is to spread freedom." Die Iraker fordert Bush auf, trotz der überaus hohen Terrorgefahr wählen zu gehen: „Ich bin stolz auf den Irak und seine Menschen“, sagte George W. Bush in einem Interview mit dem Sender Al Arabia. „Ich will denjenigen Anerkennung für ihren Mut zollen, die zum Aufbau und zur Stärkung der Demokratie beitragen.“ Am Sonntag gebe es eine historische Wahl für den Irak, und er hoffe auf eine große Beteiligung. Auf der ersten Pressekonferenz seiner zweiten Amtszeit sagte Bush: "Ich bitte alle Menschen dringend, sich diesen Terroristen zu widersetzen."

Eine Reportage über die irakische "Demokratie hinter Panzersperren" bringt die Zeit. Eine gute Internetinformationsseite für alle, die sich tiefer mit den zur Wahl stehenden Parteien beschäftigen wollen, ist Election Monitor Iraq.