These days, no one in Iraq is safe.
Last Wednesday, a bridal party was the target. On Thursday, separate attacks brought destruction upon civilians and police officers alike.
According to the UN, in May Iraq suffered its highest rate of violent deaths in five years.
This is a country standing on the edge of an existential precipice.
Amid such horrific and sustained violence, it's understandably tempting to obsess over the human side of these atrocities. After all, this is a brutality of almost incomprehensible scale (especially after years of war).
That being said, we can identify some of the factors that are feeding Iraq's present security nightmare.
The immediate threat is a renewed Sunni-Salafi insurgency.
In 2007-08, afflicted by a "surge'' of additional American forces, a relentless Special Forces campaign and suffering the fury of alienated Iraqis, Al Qa'ida in Iraq ( AQI) was gutted. Its mid-high ranks were decimated and its operational mobility severely restricted. The consequences were profoundly positive -- violence plummeted. Sadly, the peace hasn't lasted. Now, facing an Iraqi government that lacks the intelligence targeting capabilities of the U.S. government, AQI's effective successor, the Islamic State of Iraq ( ISI), is wreaking havoc. Waging a campaign of murder against Iraqi Shia, these terrorists want to exacerbate an ongoing government crackdown against Iraqi Sunnis. Their sustaining objective is unambiguous -- fostering a cauldron of chaos in which Iraqis detach into base sectarian alliances. In short, they desire a civil war.