As Mr. Jiyad put it: “We have stolen people’s futures.”

Most humiliating for many Iraqis is that to get a government job, they either have to know someone in a senior position in a ministry or political party, or they have to pay someone in a party or in the department where they want to work, or both. This system, which in the last few years has become pervasive, has put a price tag on many jobs, according to anticorruption officials and Parliament members.

Zainab Jassim Zayre, a 30-year-old radiology technician who works in a hospital in the sprawling, mostly poor Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, got her job several years ago, before such payments became routine. But she said students are now being asked to shell out as much as $30,000 for a position like hers, which pays at most $800 a month.

“People suffer from this system — not all people,” she said. “If they are middle class or rich, maybe their families can afford it. But the poor people cannot. This is injustice, and if they borrow, it takes them so long to pay back.”

Injustice is a word that comes up in almost every interview with ordinary Iraqis.

They use it to describe not only the system of paying for jobs, but the difficulty of getting any official document without paying something extra to the person giving it to you; they use it when they describe how some neighborhoods have polluted water — or no water at all. It expresses their sense of outrage at the privilege of a very few Iraqis and the desperation of the many.

Even the most basic demand that people make of government — that it guarantee their day-to -day safety — is not a given everywhere in Iraq. It depends where you live.

In Diyala, a sprawling, largely rural province northeast of Baghdad, sectarian fighting still goes on. Just a week ago, eight people were killed and since January, more than 40 people have died in sectarian killings.

The security threat from the Islamic State may be quiescent now, but is hardly gone, according to senior Iraqi security officials. An analysis by U.S. military commanders in December found that there were “more than 20,000 ISIS leaders and fighters in detention facilities in Iraq,” calling this “an ISIS army in detention.”

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