According to the Washington Post newspaper, the director of the Pentagon agency devoted to stopping improvised bombings is in Baghdad this week meeting with Iraqi officials, but U.S. military officials caution that they will not be able to deliver quick solutions to suppress a string of suicide attacks there.
Army Lt. Gen. Michael Shields, the director of the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency (JIDA), traveled to Iraq with several staff members to discuss the spate of attacks in the city by ISIL and how to thwart them. His trip follows a July 3 bombing in Baghdad’s Karradah shopping district that killed more than 300 people, making it the deadliest attack of its kind since the United States toppled Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003.
Army Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said that Shields will soon return to the United States, and then examine what options his agency can offer to the Iraqis.
“Remember, in the end, the Iraqis have to agree to whatever support we offer,” Garver said. “Even if we come up with potential solutions to help with the bomber network issue here in Baghdad, the Iraqis have to agree with it. So, there’s going to be some negotiations along the way.”
David Small, a JIDA spokesman, said that Shields’s mission in Baghdad this week is “fact-finding” in nature and will allow him to assess the improvised explosive device threat there and get “a thorough understanding of Iraqi counter-IED capabilities.