Hours before the White House released its tepid assessment of Iraq’s progress on 18 congressional benchmarks, Baghdad’s Dar Es Salaam bank was burgled of some $282 million. Apparently the heist was an inside job carried out by bank guards, who, Iraqi officials are speculating, have ties to the militias. If true, that certainly doesn’t bode well for the security situation, raising the possibility that some rather unsavory militants are about to get a large cash infusion.
Believe it or not, but this massive heist is only the second largest in the country’s history (not counting the hundreds of millions of dollars that vanished under the watchful eye of Iraq’s defense ministry) . The first, which is the world’s largest, happened shortly before the U.S. invasion commenced in March 2003, when Saddam Hussein and his family pilfered $1 billion from Iraq’s Central Bank.