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“It’s like I’m in Washington”: Baghdad residents complain about checkpoints everywhere

“It’s like I’m in Washington”: Baghdad residents complain about checkpoints everywhere image

Residents in the Iraqi capital complained of an increase in the number of checkpoints throughout the city that have emerged in recent weeks as security forces and militias clamp down on protesters, with some complaining that the militarization of Baghdad’s streets reminds them of violent images on television of Washington, DC.

Local grocer Adnan Balabel said the increased security presence created a militarized environment that made citizens feel unsafe, as though they were living in a first world country that did not have enough problems and so decided to conjure them out of thin air.

“The last time we became like America in recent memory was when America came here and broke everything, and we’ve only just begun to recover,” he said. “It feels like taking a step backwards.”

Balabel urged the US to take a page out of Iraq’s playbook to overcome its own problem with domestic terrorists.

“It’s important to treat them with extreme prejudice, because the initial phase is about finding out if you are with us or against us, and so being white right now is grounds for suspicion,” he said. “We also stand ready to assist and intervene with force if we are invited.”