For nearly a decade, anyone driving through one of Baghdad’s many checkpoints was subjected to a search by a security official wielding a wand shaped device. The official would walk around the car, intently gazing at the small metal wand to see if it moved – which was supposed to indicate the presence of explosive materials. Fairly routine, but here is the catch; the device is fake, absolutely bogus. The passengers know it, the security official knows it, the whole world knows it, but everybody is still going rough the motions.

Weeks after a deadly car bomb ripped through a shopping district in central, killing at least 157 people, the country’s prime minister, Haidar al-Abadi, has demanded the withdrawal of “fake bomb detectors” from the security forces’ inventory. While many welcomed this decision, the overwhelming majority of people derided the government for doing it at last.

The fact that they were fake was conclusively proved long ago by scientific observation, the British businessman, James Mccormick – who sold the $20 devices to Iraqi government for over $4,000 each – was sent to jail for fraud in 2013, and the Iraqi government has already jailed several security officials for accepting bribes with this contract; why then were the devices still in use?

The answer lies in the coffers that were stuffed in the aftermath of the US lead invasion of Iraq. The Iraqi government that was cobbled together after the invasion is notoriously corrupt and helplessly inept. It has failed to protect its citizens through criminal neglect, and the fake bomb saga is a microcosm of their failure. Even now the architects of this deal and senior security officials are still sitting in their seats.

But even more reprehensible is the economy that thrives off of conflict. This device was marketed and sold at international arms fairs organised by the British – who are supposed to validate all products sold under their banner. Yet profit motive made everyone look the other way. The producers of legitimate devices aren’t blameless either. They sell armour to one group, and weapons to pierce that armour to the other. More so than the oil industry, it is the arms industry that has seen their profits rise the most following the unrest in Middle East.

If we want to look for those responsible for the deaths in Baghdad, all we have to do is follow the money – and the trail is fresh.