Baghdad’s tepid nightlife

Older, beefy men gather as the whiskey flows, young women dance to loud Arabian rhythms. When the police crack down, there is always a higher higher-up to get the party started again.

By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times:

Reporting from Baghdad

Cops stormed in and shut the place down. Up the stairs and out into the warm spring night the tipsy customers stumbled, along with a gaggle of ladies of the night, various shady characters, the singer and his band.
A rustle of umbrage. What’s the meaning of this?
The police almost apologized. Orders from the Interior Ministry, they said, one of the higher-ups.

But one of the customers was also in the Interior Ministry. He pulled out his cellphone and called someone, an even higher higher-up. And 90 minutes after one of Baghdad’s most notorious nightclubs was closed, the whiskey was flowing, the young women dancing, the sound system pumping out Arabian rhythms so loud they shook the wood paneling.
"Someone with big influence calls someone with bigger influence," one of the guests, who goes by the name of Abu Hassan, explains a few nights later. "Every night it is something."
So it goes in Baghdad’s clubland, reemerging from years of war and Islamist fervor…Read more>>

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