Baghdad’s neighborhood of Gorayaat, a small Shiite enclave on a bend in the Tigris River, exemplifies the failures of Iraq’s security agencies trying to protect the capital from attacks by the Islamic State. The district has been a target for years, hit by so many bombings, suicide attacks, rockets and mortars that residents have lost count.

After a car bomb ripped through its main commercial street earlier this month, killing 15 people and wounding 42, security forces responded as they have after every previous attack. Soldiers and police swarmed in to secure Gorayaat’s streets. At checkpoints, they checked people’s IDs, and anyone who was not a resident had to account for his presence.

“That goes on for one or two days, then it’s back to normal and we wait for the next bombing,” said Idris Jawad, a resident. […]