From Stars and Stripes…
building wall separating Sunnis, Shiites
structure in Baghdad is a disputed part of security plan…
BAGHDAD — U.S. soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division in a Baghdad district
are “building a three-mile protective wall on the dividing line between a Sunni
enclave and the surrounding Shiite neighborhood,” according to a U.S. military
press release issued Wednesday.
Troops with the 407th Brigade Support Battalion began constructing the wall
on April 10 and will continue work “almost nightly until the wall is complete,”
the release read.
“The area the wall will protect is the largest predominately Sunni
neighborhood in East Baghdad. Majority-Shiite neighborhoods surround it on three
sides. Like other religiously divided regions in the city, the area has been
trapped in a spiral of sectarian violence and retaliation,” according to the
In January, when the new Baghdad security plan and troop “surge” were
announced, the “gated community” concept was reported by several news agencies
as one tactic to be used.
According to Wednesday’s news release from Multi-National Corps-Iraq, “the
wall [in Adhamiyah] is one of the centerpieces of a new strategy by coalition
and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence. Planners hope the
creation of the wall will help restore law and order by providing a way to
screen people entering and exiting the neighborhood — allowing residents and
people with legitimate business in, while keeping death squads and militia
A similar effort by U.S. troops in south Baghdad was reported earlier this
month by the Wall Street Journal.
“That community [in Adhamiyah] will be completely gated and protected,” Lt.
Col. Thomas Rogers, 407th Brigade Support Battalion, was quoted as saying in the
release. “It’s really for the security of all the people of Adhamiyah, not just
one side or the other.”
According to military officials, the Adhamiyah wall should be completed in
the next month.
The article includes a denial from t he top spokesman for coalition forces in Iraq that it is policy to build gated communities and that he is unaware of such a wall being built. But he admits temporary barriers are being built to seal off neighborhoods and permanent barriers around city marketplaces are being erected. Make of that what you will. The section of the article dealing with the dispute is after the jump.