Since the US invasion in 2003, Eid al-Fitr, a major holiday in Muslim countries, has often been a time of reflection on the devastation brought by war. That is a true as ever this year, with the holiday coming just days after a massive bombing in Baghdad.
The Saturday night bombing, which targeted a crowded market in a Shi’ite neighborhood, killed a huge number of people, with the latest death toll saying 250 killed and 200 wounded. ISIS was quick to claim credit for the attack, the largest of the year by far.
Such a huge attack clearly overshadows any celebration that would be happening in the holiday this week, and it’s also adding to the already smoldering resentment against the Abadi government, with many seeing this as just the latest in a long line of failures.
That’s not a new concern for Baghdad residents, who for years have faced a string of terror attacks, and promises of increased security that never seem to do anything to prevent the next one. This has been doubly true lately, with Iraqi troops focused on offensives elsewhere in the country.
Even what troops are in Baghdad mostly aren’t providing security for the civilian population, but are concentrated in the Green Zone, where they were deployed to prevent civilian protesters from marching on government buildings.
The heavy concentration of security forces around government buildings would be irksome in the best of times, but is increasingly intolerable with ISIS launching bigger and bigger strikes around the city, and the sense that Prime Minister Abadi is incapable, or unwilling, to do more to stop such incidents.