"They may be accomplishing their task, which is to kill a lot of innocent civilians," he said. "But they are not accomplishing their purpose, which is to generate ethno-sectarian violence ... and chaos."
For the most part, Iraqis agree there is little evidence so far that suggests widespread sectarian killing will return. But many said they believe things could quickly change. And while most said they're confident violence will never get as bad as it was 18 months ago, many said they expect attacks to increase as the U.S. begins drawing down in Iraq.
"I'm worried," said Sadir Sami, who is 32 and looking for work. "A month ago, I felt safe leaving my house in the morning. But now I think twice about where I'm going. I still go, but I am more conscious of things around me."
Sami said his cousin was among those killed in an explosion in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood on April 23.
"That's what changed it for me," he said. "I think this will bring the militias back."
Khadija Ahmed, a 25-year-old newlywed, said she's afraid Iraq's security forces won't be able to stand on their own when the U.S. is no longer supporting them.
"They need the help still," she said. "They won't be able to control things like the Americans."
Her husband, Ali, agreed. "I feel like things might explode again," he said. "In general, things are still OK. But we're preparing for that to change now."
Ahmed Muhsin, a 23-year-old waiter at Hassan's, said he's also concerned about what will happen as the U.S. role in Iraq diminishes.
"For a long time we didn't want (the Americans)," he said. "But now we're worried about how it will be when they go."
Hussein Ali Shukar, who sells frozen juice at a popular park along the Tigris River in Baghdad, said he's seen no drop-off in business since attacks have increased.
"I think it will have to get worse for people to really be afraid," he said. "Even if we are worried, we are used to explosions. I still go in the evenings to Adhamiyah to eat outside and smoke sheesha."
Ayas Abu Ahmed, a 41-year-old clothing merchant, attributed the recent violence to political factions that lost in provincial elections held here in January.
"They don't like the results, and they don't want to leave the power with the people who have it now," he said. "So they don't want the situation to be stable."
Though he's concerned about attacks, Ahmed said he isn't living his life any differently.
"This is still very good compared to what we had before," he said. "I'm not going to hide in my house. I'm going to live."