How is daily life in Baghdad

Suicide attacks in Baghdad - Murderous greetings from IS to the USA

Two men blew themselves up in a busy clothes bazaar in the Iraqi capital. The sad result: at least 32 dead and over 110 injured.

On Wednesday an Arab satirical newspaper published an article in which Iraqi capitals complained about the many checkpoints. "I feel like in Washington here," one Baghdad was quoted as saying. What was intended as a return coach to many American media, which had recently extensively compared the state of siege in the US capital with Iraqi conditions, got a terrible aftertaste only one night later.

A double attack rocked the city on Thursday morning, the first in a long time. For three years, the Iraqi security forces were able to prevent attacks with many checkpoints. The most recent suicide attack in Baghdad on January 18, 2018 cost 35 lives.

The final balance of the acts on Thursday will not be able to be drawn for a few days, when it is clear how many of the 110 injured will survive. So far, rescue workers assume at least 32 deaths. None of the extremist groups active in the country initially confessed. But observers suspect behind the act a cynical welcome to the new US government by the so-called Islamic State.

The assassins pretended to have circulatory problems. When passers-by tried to help, the explosives detonated.

According to eyewitnesses, a man acted out circulatory problems in a lively clothes bazaar on Tayaran Square - the very place where the last attack occurred in 2018. When passers-by gathered to help, he detonated an explosive device.

A second man did the same when helpers wanted to take care of the victims of the first explosion, as videos circulating on the Internet show. The pictures contradict what an army spokesman described: Both assassins blew themselves up during a chase with security forces, he said.

At the end of 2017, the Iraqi government declared its victory over IS after its army, with the support of the US and Iran-led militias, managed to recapture territory in the north and west of the country that the jihadists overran in 2014. Even then, nobody believed that the threat posed by IS would be averted, sleeper cells are still suspected across the country. But in the end Iraq seemed to be more concerned with the consequences of the war against the terrorist militia than with its cause.

Iranian shadow army

Because the Shiite militias persisted after 2017. Iran has been expanding its influence in the neighboring country since the US invasion in 2003. But with the war against IS, the Islamic Republic succeeded in establishing a shadow army there - comparable to the armed arm of Hezbollah in Lebanon, which was also built by the Revolutionary Guards of Iran and guarantees a Tehran-friendly state in the state.

This development tried to stop the USA, whose bases in Iraq were often shelled by militias. Rockets keep raining even on the embassy grounds in the Green Zone in Baghdad. A year ago, the region barely missed a war after a US drone at Baghdad airport eliminated an important Iraqi militia leader and his Iranian guest - General Qassem Soleimani, chief planner of all Iran’s covert and overt operations abroad.

US-friendly and Iran-affiliated groups are constantly vying for power in Iraq.

A protest movement that has been taking to the streets in Baghdad and other cities since October 2019 also wanted to push back the influence of Iran. Hundreds of people paid with their lives for their demands for a reorganization of the political landscape when unknown gun carriers shot into the crowd - as in many of the targeted executions of activists, militias loyal to Iran were suspected to be behind these acts.

After a corona-related break, the demonstrations recently got bigger again, as life returned to places like the now attacked Tayaran Square after curfews.

It will only be seen in October whether the call for change will also reach the institutions. Earlier this week, the government decided to postpone the parliamentary elections scheduled for June by four months. So far, after every vote, a struggle between the US-friendly and the Iran-friendly groups has started in the back rooms - a dualism that will not be easily bridged by the apparently increasing threat from IS.

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