From the river to the sea,
Palestine will be free!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sunni Baghdad Becomes Land of Silent Ruins

Why the US must leave Iraq. The logic displayed in this NYTimes article--that the government is a puppet of the US occupier, and therefore must be resisted at the cost of the civilian population--means that until the occupation ends, that punishing dynamic will continue to be played out. Linda


"BAGHDAD, March 25 — The cityscape of Iraq’s capital tells a stark story of the toll the past four years have taken on Iraq’s once powerful Sunni Arabs.

"Theirs is a world of ruined buildings, damaged mosques, streets pitted by mortar shells, uncollected trash and so little electricity that many people have abandoned using refrigerators altogether.

"The contrast with Shiite neighborhoods is sharp. Markets there are in full swing, community projects are under way, and while electricity is scarce throughout the city, there is less trouble finding fuel for generators in those areas. When the government cannot provide services, civilian arms of the Shiite militias step in to try to fill the gap.

"But in Adhamiya, a community with a Sunni majority, any semblance of normal life vanished more than a year ago. Its only hospital, Al Numan, is so short of basic items like gauze and cotton pads that when mortar attacks hit the community last fall, the doctors broadcast appeals for supplies over local mosque loudspeakers.

"Here, as in so much of Baghdad, the sectarian divide makes itself felt in its own deadly and destructive ways. Far more than in Shiite areas, sectarian hatred has shredded whatever remained of community life and created a cycle of violence that pits Sunni against Sunni as well as Sunni against Shiite.

"Anyone who works with the government, whether Shiite or Sunni, is an enemy in the eyes of the Sunni insurgents, who carry out attack after attack against people they view as collaborators. While that chiefly makes targets of the Shiite-dominated Iraqi Army and the police, the militants also kill fellow Sunnis from government ministries who come to repair water and electrical lines in Sunni neighborhoods.

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