On Monday, a series of three coordinated bombings targeting landmark hotels in Baghdad killed at least 36 people and wounded 71, according to The New York Times. Also Monday, Iraqis hung Saddam Hussein’s cousin and former aide Ali Hassan al-Majeed –aka “Chemical Ali” — for crimes against humanity, largely for his role in the mass killing of Iraqi Kurds in 1988. –KA

The New York Times:

The bombings, cutting through snarled traffic at the afternoon rush, seemed to be the latest chapter in a strategy that began in August and that has hewn to a relentlessly political logic. With similar attacks in August, October and December, insurgents have sought to wreck pillars of Baghdad’s government and civic life, proving that Mr. Maliki’s government and the security forces he often hails are unable to preserve the state’s authority.

In streets strewn with broken glass, where the scent of shorn eucalyptus trees mixed with the stench of charred flesh, some survivors rued a sense of the inevitable. In past attacks, the blasts have thundered across the capital, followed by weeks of relative calm broken by another series.

“We were expecting more,” said Abbas Salman, gazing at a street where rescue workers carried severed legs and arms through crowds of stunned onlookers.

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