Relative calm has prevailed over the last two months in central Baghdad and other urban areas, but the outskirts of the capital did witness security breaches. United Nations Iraq reported a surge in the number of civilian deaths in Baghdad and other governorates.
Since there is no room for wishful thinking at the safety level in Iraq, it seems like security in Iraq has become a dream that is difficult to achieve.
The Karrada district is considered a lively and dynamic area that includes headquarters of newspapers, magazines, television and radio channels as well as civil society organizations. There are also several coffee shops frequented by writers and artists. Compared to the other areas of Baghdad, Karrada is still lively. The area is home to Muslims and Christians, Shiites and Sunnis.
Women roam the streets, unveiled, and restaurants stay packed with families well into the late-night hours. The vital Karrada district is also close to Al-Bab al-Sharqi area, where a station for public transport is located, providing transportation for passengers to most areas of the capital.
The explosion that killed Shahbander was not an accidental security breach, as an explosion in the same area on May 9 changed all the equations, and the scene in Iraq became even more dreary. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the two blasts.
Ivan Hikmat, a children's comic books illustrator, usually spends her holiday with her husband and her 1-year-old daughter at Cafe Ridha Alwan.
“[The situation] has become unbearable. This area was all there was left to spend [a] few leisure hours during the holiday,” she told Al-Monitor. “I don’t believe the government will be able to protect the area or Baghdad. It seems that things are completely beyond the government’s control.”
For his part, Hussam al-Saray, head of the House of Iraqi Poetry, told Al-Monitor: “Karrada is a lively place for all people of all sects to come together. However, if things continue to go down the same path, [Karrada] will turn into a traditional, reserved, working-class neighborhood.”