On August 10 violence in Iraq escalated to familiar, yet somewhat distant levels. Car bombs concentrated primarily in Shiite neighborhoods around the Baghdad area exploded within an hour of one another, killing 66 people and wounding more than 200 others. The coordinated attacks meant to disrupt celebrations of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that comes at Ramadan’s end. More than stain the Islamic holy month with bloodshed, however, the attackers have continued and intensified a narrative of extremist violence in Iraq at the expense of innocent civilians.

The deadliest explosion took place when a suicide bomber drove a car into a neighborhood in Tuz Khormato, a town located about 130 miles north of Baghdad. The attack left eight people dead and dozens wounded. Another car bomb detonated near a market in Baghdad’s southeastern suburbs of Jisr Diyala, killing seven people and wounding 20 more. In southeastern Baghdad a car bomb killed three people in the neighborhood of New Baghdad, while three more were killed in Amil. In the city of Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, four people lost their lives.

A car bomb blasted in the neighborhood of Abu Dashir as well, killing four people and wounding 15. An attack that rendered five dead and 14 wounded also occurred at a restaurant in Khazimiyah. Five more people were killed near a café in the neighborhood of Baiyaa, which is located in southwestern Baghdad. A car bomb left six dead and 15 wounded in Shaab, while seven more were killed near a restaurant in Baghdad’s northeastern suburb of Husseiniyah. In the Dora area in southern Baghdad five lives were lost with 15 more wounded. Close to a park located just south of Baghdad four people, including two children, were killed. In southern Iraq, the city of Nasiriyah witnessed four lives lost and 41 wounded. Finally, near a Shiite mosque in the city of Kirkuk one more person was killed with a car bomb and an additional 20 people were wounded.

This report could have easily been left at 66 people killed and over 200 wounded in Iraq on August 10, 2013. Such a report would in fact suffice at least one group of people. First, and most plain, the attackers themselves would appreciate nothing more than the reduction of their efforts to a box score. After all, if every individual attack is spelled out in the horrific, grotesque manner in which it is executed, then the suicide bomber community may face a growing confrontation from human rights activists across the world. The above-described attacks were carried out against civilians at locations ranging from public parks to restaurants; human rights abuses defined. Furthermore, the Islamic State of Iraq (Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq) produced the attacks in part and has proliferated its murderous campaign during this past month of July.

As an Al-Qaeda affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq has never been shy about its intentions or demonstrations. The cohort recently claimed responsibility for the attacks on prisons Abu Ghraib and al-Tajji, for example. These attacks resulted in the deaths of security officials and the escape of many Al-Qaeda militants and sympathizers. As if that was not enough, the Islamic State of Iraq has endorsed the murder of civilians as a reasonable means to an end. For this reason among several others, July was marked as the bloodiest month in Iraq in over five years according to United Nations figures. Those figures indicate that acts of terrorism killed 1,057 Iraqis and wounded another 2,326 in the month of July alone. Included in the UN numbers are the deaths of 928 civilians and the wounding of 2,109 more. Gyorgy Busztin, the Acting Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq,

commented on the United Nations reports concerning July’s death toll in Iraq. Busztin said “We haven’t seen such numbers in more than five years, when the blind rage of sectarian strife that inflicted such deep wounds upon this country was finally abating. I reiterate my urgent call on Iraq’s political leaders to take immediate and decisive action to stop the senseless bloodshed, and to prevent these dark days from returning.” Although Mr. Busztin issues a stern warning here, the problem now rests with Iraq itself. Plagued with corruption, the justice system in Iraq has thus far been unable to wedge its way in between the Sunni and Shiite militants to prosecute the crimes against humanity seen from all over the world. The August 10 car bombings are only the latest and most extreme example of a recurring trend in Iraq.

But, despite the plain case for human rights that groups in Iraq continue to violate and undermine, there is also a group of people who seem indifferent on the issue. On both sides of the political spectrum there are those who have an ingrained response to all things concerning Iraq: the U.S. has made things worse. The Iraq War was a colossal mistake and anything that happens in Iraq from now on is a result of that invasion. For many people this is not only an immediate response, but also a justified and evidenced response. That response, however, will be very unhelpful going forward if the U.S. would like to have an image of fighting for human rights wherever they are violated, including Iraq.

An excellent opportunity, for instance, presents itself in the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), which was designed and implemented to help the Iraqi people during times just like these. Without a military interest in Iraq, the United States would be well served to get behind the UNAMI and rhetorically push a campaign for human rights in Iraq. With a Kurdish President, Shia Prime Minister, and Sunni speaker of the parliament in a Shia-majority Iraq, the 2014 parliamentary elections will be significant in maintaining that unique balance of power. The UNAMI will be actively seeking to achieve that stability, and the U.S. can still be a vital partner in that effort. If violence continues to escalate in Iraq, however, the parliamentary elections could be postponed at best and boycotted at worst.

The August 10 attacks are a reminder that Iraq, although a democratically elected government, is still fragile with human rights abuses on behalf of violent Islamists. This grim picture of Iraqi affairs can still be improved through coordinated efforts with the UNAMI that focuses on human rights violations in Iraq every day. Whenever the targeting of civilians becomes common practice and mundane our resolute attention is required. Iraq is not an exception.