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Baghdad's Walls Are Closing In

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 03:53 PM
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Baghdad's Walls Are Closing In
Baghdad's Walls Are Closing In
Shiites and Sunnis are virtually imprisoned in their enclaves. On the street, the wrong answer to a subtle question can be a death sentence.
By Jeffrey Fleishman, Times Staff Writer
August 20, 2006

BAGHDAD Curling through the desert, wind rattling its marshes, the Tigris once brought so much life to this city, where spices and silks were loaded on wooden boats bound for Basra and beyond. Shiites lived with Sunnis, Christians and Jews, but today, as in other times, unity splinters in bloodshed. The river's bridges have turned into escape routes for families fleeing sectarian death squads. Some head one way, others go the opposite direction, and many fear that if full-scale civil war erupts, the Tigris will act as a green line, separating Sunni-dominated west Baghdad from the Shiite-controlled east. The shoes of Akram Mustafa tell the story of a dividing city; the orange dust from the clay tennis courts is fading on them. One of his country's top-ranked tennis players, Mustafa seldom plays these days. Getting to his club along the Tigris would mean crossing from his eastern neighborhood of Sadr City into streets guarded by Sunnis.

"I haven't been out of Sadr City in five or six months," Mustafa said. "Each day we stand in the same place talking the same talk to the same people. We have nothing." Travel west across the river to the Sunni neighborhood of Amiriya and listen to Fatima Omar: "I have a best friend who's leaving the country in six or seven weeks, and I can't go visit her because she lives in a Shiite neighborhood." With each explosion, with each firefight, Omar's geography shrinks. "We are prisoners of the city," she said.

Conditions that lead Pentagon generals to say civil war is close are already polarizing many neighborhoods. Although Shiites and Sunnis still live side by side in some places, about 200,000 Iraqis, most of them from Baghdad, have left their mixed neighborhoods and taken refuge in communities where they can live among their own. In July, the Baghdad morgue reported more than 1,800 violent deaths. A widening war would strike at the city's religious complexities, which have grown over time: Each sect has holy sites in the other's territory, and neighborhoods such as Kadhimiya, a Shiite stronghold in west Baghdad, and Adhamiya, a Sunni pocket in the east, would be surrounded by enemies. "The national character of Iraqis doesn't want the city divided," said Adnan Yassin, a sociologist at Baghdad University. "Sunni and Shiite have lived together for centuries. They've married one another. How can you divide this?" Gone are the days of walking hand-in-hand with your lover along the Tigris, hearing the clack of backgammon through the scent of fish grilling beneath the moon. Sunni car bombers drive into Shiite marketplaces; Shiite death squads move through the night, leaving Sunni bodies in alleys and date palm groves. Some people carry two identity cards, one for who they really are, the other a lie to save them from death that often waits behind a suspicious gaze.

much more:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-two...
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 03:57 PM
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1. when you lose 3000 civilians a month to violence
it is most definately a war.
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:17 PM
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3. The Americans aren't doing anything to stop it.
<http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ >

Maybe they can't. We've already blown it.
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:34 PM
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5. This is true. But who benefits the most from this sectarian violence?
What would happen in Sunni and Shi'ite ever sat down and tried to mend fences?

Who would the enemy be then?
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ima_sinnic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:13 PM
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2. may * and his lying greed-head SOB war-profiteering buddies
burn in eternal hell for what they have done.
For this there is no satisfaction in being able to say "I told you so," the suffering and the atrocities perpetrated by unmitigated pure EVIL are just too much to bear. :cry:
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Missy M Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:33 PM
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4. "Gone are the days of walking hand-in-hand with your lover....
along the Tigris, hearing the clack of backgammon through the scent of fish grilling beneath the moon." I believe that was under Saddam's rule. They are describing the current conditions under Bush's rule.
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