Ban Ki-moon's Near Miss: Still Twenty Rockets to Go …

Most artillery shells or rockets have no justification beyond the fact that they are launched and that they explode. As far as the rocket that landed near a press conference in Baghdad being held with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, no one can claim to know the explanation, or whether it was intended to hit any particular target [the Secretary General, for example]. This was a rocket attack that has been given many differing interpretations.

Due to its timing and the area targeted [in the Green Zone], some believe it was an American bombing. This interpretation sees the rocket – which landed within meters of the U.N. chief – as a red line, and that the U.N. should keep its distance from a country considered central to Washington’s interests. But this explanation is contradicted by the facts on the ground, where it is apparent that there exists a strong American desire to involve the United Nations in restoring order.

Most bombs explode and disintegrate into shrapnel, but the bomb that landed near Ban Ki-moon will remain etched into the global memory and will not be ignored by the United Nations Museum. When Moon retires, he will tell his grandchildren – gathered around a stove in winter – of the time he went to Baghdad at the height of an effort to secure the city, when a bomb found its way into the Green Zone and almost ended him.

Another interpretation of this bombing is that it is the work of one of the resistance factions battling the occupation, which have been shelling the Green Zone continuously for the past four years.

No one can rule out the possibility that the rocket was launched by trouble-making militias, who are well aware that in the eyes of the world, their presence is illegal, undermines the existence of the state and hampers international efforts to solve the Iraqi crisis.

But if the militias are responsible for the attack, it must mean that they attach no importance to their most prominent ally [It was a joint press conference with Prime Minister Maliki – a Shiite – who is understood to be a friend of the Shiite militias]. It is unlikely the militias would risk harming Maliki for the sake of frightening or even killing the U.N. Secretary General!

It is also possible that the rocket could have been launched from a neighboring country that feels that in the event of a larger U.N. security and reconstruction role, its powers, privileges and proxies in Iraq could be endangered.

There are also several other explanations that could account for this bombing.

But the least likely explanation for this event is that it was the first of the twenty one artillery rounds traditionally fired to honor visiting world leaders.

But if it was, I wonder at whom the remaining twenty artillery rounds will be directed …

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