A bomb at a bus station in a Shi’ite neighborhood in southwest Baghdad today killed at least seven people and wounded 31 others. In most cities, such a story would be called an appalling calamity. In Baghdad its called Thursday.
Violence is up across Iraq, and nowhere is that more plain to see than in the various Shi’ite neighborhoods of Iraq. Only yesterday a vegetable cart exploded in Sadr City, another Shi’ite district of Baghdad, killing at least 76 and wounding well over 100 others. Just days before that an attack in the northern city of Kirkuk destroyed a Shi’ite mosque and killed at least 80.
With less than a week left before the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) deadline for US troops to leave Iraqi cities, a week of anti-Shi’ite bombings has left nearly 200 civilians dead and has seriously damaged the credibility of the Iraqi government to handle security in the nation.
The Pentagon dismissed the concerns yesterday, while predicting that the violence would get even worse in the near term. It is hard to fathom a situation where nearly 200 civilians can be blown up in a matter of days and the Pentagon would declare “the overall security climate is a good one,” yet this is the reality of post-surge Iraq, where seemingly no level of violence can distract the administration from the narrative that things in the nation are going swimmingly.