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Newsweek: Baghdad now cleansed of Sunnis

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Coexist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-03-07 06:10 PM
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Newsweek: Baghdad now cleansed of Sunnis

Baghdad's New Owners
Shiites now dominate the once mixed capital, and there is little chance of reversing the process.

Sept. 10, 2007 issue - It was their last stand. Kamal and a handful of his neighbors were hunkered down on the roof of a dun-colored house in southwest Baghdad two weeks ago as bullets zinged overhead. In the streets below, fighters from Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army fanned out and blasted away with AK-47s and PKC heavy machine guns. Kamal is a chubby 44-year-old with two young sons, and he and his friends, all Sunnis, had been fighting similar battles against Shiite militiamen in the Amel neighborhood for months. They jumped awkwardly from rooftop to rooftop, returning fire. Within minutes, however, dozens of uniformed Iraqi policemen poured into the street to support the militiamen. Kamal ditched his AK on a rooftop and snuck away through nearby alleys. He left Amel the next day. "I lost my house, my documents and my future," says Kamal, whose name and that of other Iraqis in this story have been changed for their safety. "I'm never going back."

Thousands of other Sunnis like Kamal have been cleared out of the western half of Baghdad, which they once dominated, in recent months. The surge of U.S. troopsmeant in part to halt the sectarian cleansing of the Iraqi capitalhas hardly stemmed the problem. The number of Iraqi civilians killed in July was slightly higher than in February, when the surge began. According to the Iraqi Red Crescent, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has more than doubled to 1.1 million since the beginning of the year, nearly 200,000 of those in Baghdad governorate alone. Rafiq Tschannen, chief of the Iraq mission for the International Organization for Migration, says that the fighting that accompanied the influx of U.S. troops actually "has increased the IDPs to some extent."

When Gen. David Petraeus goes before Congress next week to report on the progress of the surge, he may cite a decline in insurgent attacks in Baghdad as one marker of success. In fact, part of the reason behind the decline is how far the Shiite militias' cleansing of Baghdad has progressed: they've essentially won. "If you look at pre-February 2006, there were only a couple of areas in the city that were unambiguously Shia," says a U.S. official in Baghdad who is familiar with the issue but is not authorized to speak on the record. "That's definitely not the case anymore." The official says that "the majority, more than half" of Baghdad's neighborhoods are now Shiite-dominated, a judgment echoed in the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq: "And very few are mixed." In places like Amel, pockets of Sunnis live in fear, surrounded by a sea of Shiites. In most of the remaining Sunni neighborhoods, residents are trapped behind great concrete barricades for their own protection.

Amel's transformation is one of the most dramatic in the city. Under Saddam Hussein the area was a bedroom community for regime apparatchiksgenerals and officers like Kamal, who worked for one of Saddam's secret services. Spacious houses were arranged in grids around schools and recreation centers, fronted by palm trees and wide sidewalks. Saddam trusted the community: houses nestle up against the strategic highway that leads to the airport, and are only a short distance away from the Republican Palace complex that dominates the Green Zone. Now Amel's Sunnis are crowded into a strip that's less than a quarter-mile square, surrounded on all sides by concertina wire and scrap-metal barricades. City power cables have been cut, and the streets are strewn with trash and broken glass. There is only one access road not under Shiite control, leading to the airport highway. The enclave houses perhaps 5,000 Sunnis; nearly all the rest of Amel's estimated 100,000 population is now Shiite. With the agreement of locals, U.S. troops plan to replace the Sunnis' makeshift roadblocks with concrete barriers.

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stellanoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-03-07 06:21 PM
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1. I will not cast judgement until I hear from riverbend,
She's the only one I trust.
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Coexist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-03-07 06:28 PM
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3. she may have already left /

The Great Wall of Segregation...

Which is the wall the current Iraqi government is building (with the support and guidance of the Americans). It's a wall that is intended to separate and isolate what is now considered the largest 'Sunni' area in Baghdad- let no one say the Americans are not building anything. According to plans the Iraqi puppets and Americans cooked up, it will 'protect' A'adhamiya, a residential/mercantile area that the current Iraqi government and their death squads couldn't empty of Sunnis.

The wall, of course, will protect no one. I sometimes wonder if this is how the concentration camps began in Europe. The Nazi government probably said, "Oh look- we're just going to protect the Jews with this little wall here- it will be difficult for people to get into their special area to hurt them!" And yet, it will also be difficult to get out.

The Wall is the latest effort to further break Iraqi society apart. Promoting and supporting civil war isn't enough, apparently- Iraqis have generally proven to be more tenacious and tolerant than their mullahs, ayatollahs, and Vichy leaders. It's time for America to physically divide and conquer- like Berlin before the wall came down or Palestine today. This way, they can continue chasing Sunnis out of "Shia areas" and Shia out of "Sunni areas".

On a personal note, we've finally decided to leave. I guess I've known we would be leaving for a while now. We discussed it as a family dozens of times. At first, someone would suggest it tentatively because, it was just a preposterous idea- leaving ones home and extended family- leaving ones country- and to what? To where?

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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-03-07 06:27 PM
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2. The Sunnis are all Terrorists. They should be expelled from
Iraq. Then Iraq will be peaceful & the Oil can be controlled by the Western Oil Corps.
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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-03-07 06:33 PM
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4. I guess that's why the level of violences has dropped
It doesn't make sense to keep fighting when you've already won. OTOH, this is something the Sunnis probably won't forget. If they get a chance for revenge, it'll be ugly.
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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-03-07 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I am guessing that the Sunni Insurgency is taking a break
They will wait until the "Surge" has run it's course & execute their own "Surge".
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-03-07 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Sooner or later there will be no one left to kill
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-03-07 08:14 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. yeah, total ethic cleansing.
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-03-07 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
6. here is important information about that conflict LINK> it is a 1400 yr old Family FEUD

they never forget being offended or a family member or fiend of friend of a friend, neighbor, slaughtered as Collateral damage. especially the women and children of the perhaps 660,000 dead civilians we killed
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fed-up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-03-07 08:08 PM
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8. I have repeatedly said that I believe Blackwater has/had a huge hand in this :( nt
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