Gambling on the ponies bridges Iraq’s sectarian divide

IraqiHorseWe all watched in horror as sectarian violence swept across Iraq in the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion. Even today, it’s still not uncommon to read headlines of a Sunni bomb going off in a Shia neighborhood, or vice versa. But at the Baghdad Equestrian Club, one local resident proudly proclaims “There are no Sunnis or Shias here. Just people who love horses.” Amazingly, the racetrack was back up and running just three months following the invasion, and even though it remains in a state of disrepair with ‘no profit at all’ for the horse owners, the site remains popular with the hundreds of local punters who believe “There’s no other place like this in Baghdad where you can go and have a good time.” At least, not for another decade or so, after which all foreign forces will have left Baghdad and the Green Zone will be turned into the Arab world’s largest casino. Read more.