Baghdad is still ISIS’s main target

Though ISIS and its fighters may have occasion to attack an airport in Istanbul or a bakery in Dhaka, Baghdad still has the unfortunate distinction of being the primary target for the group’s terrorist activities. That was once again made clear today when two car bombings in the Iraq capital killed somewhere in the neighborhood of 130 people. By far the deadlier of the two bombings hit a market area in a predominantly Shiʿa part of the city, the Karrada district, killing at least 125 people, many of whom were shopping with their families in anticipation of the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid on Wednesday. I’ve seen figures saying that at least 25 of those killed were children.

Baghdad’s people have endured more violence over a longer period of time than any community can be expected to endure, far more than any Western city has had to endure since the end of World War II. The recent Iraqi victory in driving ISIS out of nearby Fallujah may, should even, reduce this constant threat by pushing ISIS’s front line farther away and making it harder for them to get attackers into Baghdad. But it won’t eliminate the threat altogether–it certainly does nothing to stop ISIS operatives who are already in the city–and as ISIS loses more territory it will increasingly turn to terror as its main tactic.

UPDATE: The death toll has risen to 200, with 176 injured. People are understandably angry with Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi–well, many of them were already angry with him, but this may be the point where the straw meets the camel’s back. I’ll have a little something more on this on Tuesday.


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