A Saturday night bombing in a Shi’ite neighborhood in Baghdad, targeting a marketplace full of people breaking the Ramadan fast, seems like a pretty ordinary story. Since the 2003 US invasion and occupation, Iraq has been hit with countless suicide bombings, and Baghdad has taken more than its share.
The Saturday bombing looms particularly large, however, as it stands as the deadliest single bomb attack in Iraq’s entire history, with the most recent figures saying 292 people were killed and another 200 wounded in the attack.
Many people were pinned under the rubble, some for days, with the initial reports suggesting only scores killed. It was around 150 killed by day’s end, and it’s nearly doubled since. ISIS was quick to claim credit for this, just one of many massive ISIS attacks around the world in recent weeks.
US officials have been desperately trying to spin the huge bombing, with its huge civilian death toll, as a sign of their own military success against ISIS, saying that an increase in ISIS bombings in Iraq is a measure of America’s success.
Locals, however, can’t help but see it as a failure, not just of war policy, but of the Abadi government, which has centered all of its Baghdad security on the Green Zone, and that on keeping public protesters away from government buildings, while ISIS is able to launch record bombings with virtual impunity.
The Abadi government’s main response was to finally ban the ADE-651, a notoriously fake bomb detector which amounted to an empty box that looked like it might have electronics inside, and whose marketing landed its creator, a British businessman, in jail. Despite the device not even feigning functionality, it remained virtually ubiquitous in Iraq for years after it was exposed as fraudulent.
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