‘Apathy and despair’ seep through Baghdad ahead of Iraq’s October election

War-scarred Iraq will hold a parliamentary election next month but Sajad, a 23-year-old man sitting with his friends in a Baghdad cafe, doesn’t really care.

“I see the politicians’ posters in the street, but I don’t know the names or the programs,” says the man, his head shaved and forearms tattooed.

“I think they all have the same program: ‘We will do this, we will do that.’ It’s all promises,” he scoffs, a sentiment shared by his friends.

Iraq is emerging from almost two decades of war and insurgency, since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein and promised to bring freedom and democracy.

Although parliamentary polls are to be held on Oct. 10, there is little popular hope for major change through the ballot box and widespread disillusionment about a political caste widely seen as inept and corrupt.

Sajad, who works at a media production company, says he has no plans to…

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