Baghdad residents said that the US had done little to help improve their security [AFP]

More than 60 people died in a series of bombings in Baquba, Ramadi and Baghdad on Tuesday, seriously denting US claims of rapid progress being made in restoring peace in Iraq.

Following the blasts, Al Jazeera spoke to five residents of Baghdad about whether some of the Bush administration's claims of improvement were mirrored by their experiences on the ground.

We began by asking about the so-called "surge" of around 30,000 US troops into Iraq in an attempt to stabilise the security situation.   

Assad - Government employee

"There is no improvement in Baghdad on the security level. We hear about it on TV, but on the ground we don't feel anything. No services, no security in the streets, all of it is getting worse, despite what we hear in the media."

Sabah - Student

"Despite what they say the Americans didn't really improve the security. It was the Iraqi army who bettered the situation."

Sabah - Taxi driver

"The credit belongs to the government with the help of the Awakening Councils, the Iraqi army and the police in increasing the security here."

So if there is widespread scepticism about Washington's claims regarding the surge, what about the new White House position that Iran, rather than al-Qaeda in Iraq, now poses the greatest threat to the people of Iraq?


Bashir - Journalist

"In fact, Iran is a big threat to America and it is a threat to Iraq as well. Iran supplies weapons and arms to militias that shoot Americans and as a result the Iraqi people are the victims of this Iran-US battle."

Qasim - Businessman

"Definitely America and Iran together pose the biggest threat to Iraq."

Assad - Government employee

"The main threat to Iraq is America and its allies who came and invaded our country."

Sabah - Taxi driver

"The first threat is America. The second is Iran."

And that perspective is naturally linked to the biggest question of all: How long do the Americans intend on staying?

Sabah - Taxi driver

"They make up excuses in order to stay longer in Iraq. Thus, they accuse other countries to justify their cause."

Samir - Engineer

"We wish they would leave as soon as possible, but the fact is we know it is going to take a long time."

Qasim - Businessman

"From what we see of the bases and the airports, we don't believe they are ever going to leave."

Assad - Government employee

"I don't believe they will leave until they completely destroy our country."

Source: Al Jazeera