The Cable

Clinton arrives in Iraq in wake of suicide bombings

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Baghdad Saturday, on her first trip to Iraq in the job. The trip comes in a week in which Iraq has seen back-to-back suicide bombings that have killed almost 150 people. "I think that these suicide bombings … are unfortunately, in a tragic way, a signal that the ...

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Baghdad Saturday, on her first trip to Iraq in the job. The trip comes in a week in which Iraq has seen back-to-back suicide bombings that have killed almost 150 people.

"I think that these suicide bombings … are unfortunately, in a tragic way, a signal that the rejectionists fear that Iraq is going in the right direction," Clinton told reporters en route, according to the AP

Clinton was welcomed on the tarmac by Amb. Chris Hill, who arrived in Baghdad one day earlier, chairman of the joint chief of staffs Adm. Mike Mullen, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshayr Zebari. She is scheduled to see Iraqi leaders, as well as host a roundtable with Iraqi women and war widows, and a town hall with Iraqi students, on the one-day visit.

Iraq has suffered 18 major attacks this past month, including two suicide bombings five minutes apart outside a Baghdad Shiite mosque on Friday that killed 60 people.

The uptick in attacks has raised fears that sectarian violence and insurgency could grow after months in which the situation had stabilized and violence had been at its lowest levels since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. But a U.S. analyst on Iraq who asked to speak anonymously told The Cable that while a small number of cells in Baghdad are probing for weakness, and attempting to assert their relevance as the U.S. posture begins to change, he does not believe that the insurgency as a whole is reconstituting. The cells are capable of acts of terrorism, he said, but not of a widespread movement that risks toppling the government, especially given the significantly improved capabilities of the Iraqi security forces.

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