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In Baghdad, residents despair of endless violence

One resident described Baghdad as a "sad city," where checkpoints are manned by Shiite militias and no one expects a bright future.
Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march during a parade in Baghdad's Sadr city, June 21, 2014.  Iraq's senior Shi'ite religious cleric Moqtada al-Sadr issued a call for unity, saying Shi'ites and Sunnis should rally behind the authorities to prevent the Sunni militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant from destroying the country. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS MILITARY) - RTR3UZ9R

BAGHDAD — The city of Baghdad was once the Rome of the Islamic world, possessing a beauty that did not deteriorate with age. Now, policymakers are once again observing the city — which has not abandoned its reputation as one of the most dangerous in the world — in an attempt to foresee the future of the Middle East. 

At the famous Baghdad airport, memories take one back to the spring of 2003. Here, the fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein began. Today at the airport, rumors are spread daily by activists opposed to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government. They say Maliki's government has fallen in a bid to convince the public that Maliki is vulnerable and about to be ousted.

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