actually happening. The 1920 rebellion forced the British to secure their own local proxies, just as the Sadrist rebellion against the ham-fisted political management of the Coalition Provisional Authority forced a hasty reassessment of the inclusion of Iraqi politicians in the management of their country. For all the intrigue, all the cloak-and-dagger, al-Obaidi was surprisingly frank in describing the continued necessity of the Sadr movement. Estimates indicate it will take two weeks to complete this segment. If an insurgent is thought to be in a house, air crews who might not arrive until many hours later when conditions are completely different, in the middle of the night in fact, are called in to kill the entire family The walls were a de facto US military endorsement of Baghdad’s new order; Sadr City was the last neighborhood to succumb. Whether he is sincere or simply trying to placate Sadr’s base is questionable, but it is a sign of the political winds in Iraq, where most people have seen a drop in their standard of living since the US invasion and most of the more than four million that have been displaced from their homes to other areas of the country or neighboring countries are unlikely to return to their homes any time soon. The Sadrist parliamentary bloc has staged a number of walkouts, primarily over the Iraqi government’s refusal to demand a timetable for a complete US withdrawal. Simply because Barack and the NYT’s says they will. Supporters of Moktada al-Sadr, the anti-American cleric, denounced the wall as a nefarious effort to divide the city. Sadr City to focus on the later years of strife and violence in Sadr City. Shiite mosque in IraQ — that Shiite sectarian retaliation commenced by Sadrists and other Shiite militia groups. Normally I complained when a translator told me it was time to go, but I felt the urgency too. The 1-68 Armor Battalion, 3rd Combat Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division was tasked with clearing roadside bombs on Al Quds Street and other roads David Enders traveled to Iraq with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Whether you like Bush and his policies, feel joy that a pluralistic democratic nation might emerge from this after all. That was every day.” (R.P.G. al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia used the enclave to launch attacks against American troops, Sunnis and Shiites who stood against them. Now the situation has developed. This was one of the most intense engagements in the entire war. knew they were out there,” said First Lt. Millard Stewart. But they saw what happened when they tried to fight.” Al-Obaidi and other SIIC members denied the government was using the military for political purposes. “Things like that are all over the city,” Slack said. It also let him reflect on why running is more than a hobby for him. The attacks increased in frequency during sandstorms, which prevented American helicopters from patrolling the skies. Looking for the ideal I Love Sadr City Wall Art to express yourself? YOu have no idea what is like to Read more…, An American soldier from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team looked for an enemy sniper firing across the concrete barrier along Al Quds Street in Sadr City, Baghdad on May 17, 2008. By 2008, that dynamic had changed, and as I walked around their sector, it occurred to me that some of Slack’s men hadn’t been old enough to drive when US tanks first entered Sadr City. I was reminded of an interview I had conducted with Hezbollah fighters in South Lebanon in 2006. Mehdi Army fighters repeatedly attacked those constructing the wall under US protection. They walked directly toward me and took the camera out of my hands. job. “It’s sort of a contained area now.”. The troops motioned for me to follow them behind the Humvee, and when I did, the shouting grew. there. Baghdad began as a walled city—and perhaps it will always be. South of the wall, where the US military continues its operations, soldiers proudly guide journalists through markets where merchants can once again operate without paying taxes levied by the militia. Above the wall, the Iraqi Army maintains order for more than two million residents, many of them poor. Our Government has inflicted a needless and horrible carnage upon the residents By 2007, Shiite militias had taken over a number of neighborhoods in Baghdad, cleansing Sunnis across the capital. Saleh al-Obaidi, the Sadrieen’s official spokesman, wore a light grey dishdasha rather than his cleric’s robes. The class arguments and anticolonial sentiments initially advanced by many of the followers of Sadr, the Sadrieen, were acceptable, even supportable. “Yesterday an electrical line broke,” Ghaith said. “They have talking power—threats, graffiti—but they don’t have the means to contest coalition forces right now.”. Al Quds was formerly a four-lane major thoroughfare in Sadr City. Occupiers were not. However, insurgents still enjoyed considerable freedom of movement making allied forces vulnerable to attack from unsecured portions of Sadr City. Read more…, A physical therapist describes the powerful bonds she formed with the wounded veterans and her fellow physical and occupational therapists at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Explosively formed penetrators are a type of charge designed to shred through armor. although it involved horrific acts of terrorisom sadams rule in a way kept the shiiads and the sunnis Leave it to the NY Times to lead an anti-American and anti-U.S. Jonathan Williams is with the 62nd Ordnance Company. In Sadr City, the wall demarcating the US area of operations is painted a “calming” blue, dotted by circular watchtowers at major intersections. It’s not like when we were clearing these main routes. “Someone else must fight the terrorists.”. My guess is that you Minister Maliki will be respected by our Government? We’d find maybe one and it’d be like an exciting day that we found one. The northwestern portion of the wall running along Qods Street, which divides the bottom third of Sadr City for the northern neighborhood, is all that remains. But the press hardly reports our WINNING IN IRAQ…. Of course, the left is looking forward to Mr. Obama, their knight in shinning armor, to come in and rescue us from Iraq and every other threat to our way of life. What is decidedly unpopular are Baghdad’s walls. They won’t care what the outcome of this war is as long And this a fact because you posted it on the internet, which is of course free of small thinking and bias? The gunners on top of the Humvees trained their weapons on the crowd. The process was carried out wordlessly. area in Iraq. “Their capabilities are severely, severely degraded,” Captain Andrew Slack of the First Armored Division told me. This was their home-base,” Slack explained. “We are prosecuting the outlaws even if they are in the mosques,” he said. Has Freedom finished? Whether rightful or wrongful, those boys and girls that are over there Al-Obaidi accused the SIIC of using the cover of law to disenfranchise the Sadrieen ahead of January’s provincial elections. I think that’s the big story. Soldiers who saw action in Falluja against Sunni insurgents were not embarrassed to admit that the Shiite guerillas worried them much more. He will do A U.S. It was June 2003, and Moqtada al-Sadr, one of the most influential leaders of the Shia branch of Islam in Iraq, had just formally called for armed resistance against the US military. Aylmer Haldane, the British general who commanded forces in Iraq against insurgents in 1920 and 1921, wrote frequently of his requests to the Ministry of Defense for more troops. Finally Bill if you think you can do a better job why don’t you stop typing and wasting time blogging and instead do something about it and join the Army or Marines or the Air Force for that matter “The wall and all the operations that accompanied the wall were all in an effort to cordon off Sadr City and sort of isolate it. But, in this case, at which side are democracy and dictatorship? They had taken me for an Iraqi journalist. Moktada Arabs will never accept democracy; their societies are too violent, too tribal and too culturally backwards to build the necessary institutions (see Oil Stealer’s comment #4). I didn’t see Ghaith again until a few months later when I visited him at the mosque. The previous intifadas had been popular uprisings, difficult to control. They have started to change their thinking, and we have to change our thinking. They aim to keep us haunted with fear—to dominate us and force us into submission. She pleaded with the men in the office to do something about it. As the demonstrators, many holding empty oil lamps, prayed in the street in front of the ministry, a trio of Humvees pulled up on the other side of the median strip. The US, finally forced to take Sadr seriously, dropped a warrant it had issued for his arrest and redoubled overtures for him to join the political process. So how exactly does the moderator judge abusiveness, if posts like 2, 3 and especially 4 here made the cut? “Not to mention that there was R.P.G.s, small arms fire and a sniper. Have their empty slogans expired? When I asked if all this was really attributable to the containment wall, one of my friends chimed in, smiling now too, “It is like zoo.”. After heavy fighting during March and April 2008, the US military erected a wall along the southern edge of Sadr City, part of a spree of wall building across Baghdad. Their religious conservatism and belief in a state led by clerics were less appealing. [Image: U.S. Begins Erecting Wall in Sadr City, New York Times, photo by Joao Silva, 2008.] Bill – we do this so people like you and I are able to blog or post comments on these websites and not stand all day long on lines just to get toilet paper. I remember watching Iraqis removing the bricks of Saddam’s feared Abu Ghraib prison to construct housing, the potent symbolism of that gesture. “They banned prayers in Amara and Diwaniya and now they want to ban them here?” another preacher asked, speaking from a podium in front of a ten-foot-tall picture of Sadr’s father. That Sunni members of the government were allied with the militias responsible for sectarian cleansing became a major complaint of the Shiite underclass. Just like the infamous Berlin Wall before it, the Sadr City Wall is used to "protect" the troops, it serves as a "checkpoint" and it slows the flow of people in and out of the area. When I asked him what his role had been, he smiled and pointed an imaginary rifle, making little popping noises. Cooperation between Sunni guerillas and the Jeish Al-Mehdi that had existed during 2004 during dual uprisings against the US military fully disintegrated. One of the buildings they have occupied is a former youth center a few blocks from where Friday prayers take place, still bearing above the gate a portrait of Sadr’s father ringed by Technicolor flowers. After the February 2006 bombing of the revered Askariya Shrine in Samarra, a Shiite pilgrimage site in a restive city with a majority Sunni population an hour north of Baghdad, the Mehdi Army and other Shiite militias attacked more than a hundred Sunni mosques in Baghdad, killing hundreds and beginning a process that drove thousands from their homes. It reminds me of the walls the Israeli government has constructed in the West Bank. Just read the following article titled "US Begins Erecting Wall in Sadr City".. here's the link: Protected content "Trying to stem the infiltration of militia fighters, American forces have begun to build a massive concrete wall that will partition Sadr City, the densely populated Shiite neighborhood in the Iraqi capital." Through 21 days of July – 12 americans and 275 Iraqi’s have been killed. This is no longer a civil war. WE ARE WINNING, don’t ever forget that! He invoked his own father, who had fought against the British. I just love how the moment the NYT does an article on something other than a description of the insurgent attacks or US civilian casualties (i.e., something positive) you get this type (1-4) of comment, and when Ghaith couldn’t keep from crowing about the work he and his men were doing for the neighborhood. “On May 12, my birthday, we had to clear four of the barriers,” he said. “Your business dies because of these stones,” one shop owner told me. “And shortly after they gave us that information there was an R.P.G. “We’re civilians now.”. Blocking it off allowed American forces to cut off the main entrance to the neighborhood. Moqtada al-Sadr preached a boycott of the government appointed by the Americans, and the prayers often took on the air of a political demonstration. I do not doubt that some of their refusals are sincere, but it suggests that the military has a fragmentary and disconnected view of a fight that is seen in very different terms by Iraqis. Today’s post focuses on the role of U.S. soldiers. Many of the group’s officials were moving undercover now. That walls will be seen, time after time, in History Channel in their building process, rather than trohw away? Representatives from the Sadr office had to link arms to hold back young men at prayers from confronting the army. It Is really simple if you dont like the U.S for Though sometimes rival factions inside the militia clashed violently, it was clear that anyone who opposed the Sadrieen would bear the brunt of the violence. “People know that it’s not tolerated by coalition forces or the Iraqi Army to display propaganda that shows guys with weapons … You still will see propaganda like what you see on the wall right there,” he said. Much of the earlier fighting had centred around a massive concrete wall that the US military has been building to cut off at least a third of Sadr City, in an attempt to prevent the flow of weapons to the rest of Baghdad. Within those Insurgents, their freedom of movement rapidly disappearing, were drawn into battle on disadvantageous terms. members of Congress whether Democratic or Republican. “The Mehdi Army was kind of able to step into that vacuum,” Slack said, “and they became the government that provided fuel, basic needs and services, all the essentials that people needed. “And they told us exactly where they were and there was E.F.P.s there.”. “Our agenda is working against the occupation.” He added that SIIC has close ties to Iran as well, having been founded in Tehran by exiled Iraqis, and its militia, the Badr Brigades, was trained by the Iranians for use against Saddam in the war between the two countries in the 1980s. “Do you see any dead Iranians here?” the man asked rhetorically. To be sure, American soldiers and Iraqi judges are still being killed here, but not at BAGHDAD — Sadr City, long one of the most dangerous parts of the Iraqi capital, is calmer now than it has been in years. His book, Baghdad Bulletin (Michigan, 2005), is an account of the first year of the occupation and the English-language magazine he co-founded in Baghdad. “We are the underclass here in the east. I wish people would just realize that there is more than one What I didn’t tell them was what I saw the day after their victory, when men and boys from the neighborhood gathered together and rebuilt it, larger than before. “We hope that negotiations between the Iraqi government and the American government will reach to a timetable and we will not be in need of these groups. I remember visiting a father whose son had been shot in the back by American troops in the days before the Sadrist insurgency against the US had yet begun. Our unit was building a wall that cut off North Sadr City, Iraq, and would deny the Mahdi Army Special Groups fighters the ability to fire rockets into the green zone. Sadr City is just one of innumerable “dark corners of the world” whose destiny is occupation on the faultlines, and civilians caught in the middle. “From the beginning when the city was founded, it was called Revolution City. For many worshipers, the presence of the army at Friday prayers, the same place the militia first rallied in 2003, conjures memories of the previous government. (Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images for The New York Times), Iraqi pedestrians walked through an opening in the concrete barrier along Al Quds and Fallah Streets in Sadr City on May 25, 2008. Maybe then we Americans would learn what really goes on when our troops invade another nation so that big campaign contributors can get to resources they want. The poor are still very poor—and even worse than before—but now they are below the poverty line.”. He handed the IDs back along with my camera without a word. Some of them came to him and asked him to leave. Earlier this year, rockets were be fired from Sadr City into the Green Zone on a regular basis. of guys digging over here, here and here,’” he said. After a deal was brokered, the militia melted away in Najaf but remained in control of Sadr City. We bring you Sadr City news coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation building.”, George W. Bush, presidential candidate Oct. 11, 2000. In order to send a message, the Iraqi military had placed snipers on surrounding rooftops. This blog post is the first in a series examining the people and places in Sadr City, the poor Baghdad neighborhood that is the center of the support for the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. Other soldiers, now out of the other two Humvees, trained their guns on the unarmed crowd. when we entered iraq and got rid of sadam we brought a whole chain of consaquenses. And they put these stones to suffocate it more?” As we talked, an old woman squeezed through an opening in the barrier just large enough for a single person. He promised it would be like 1920—and, in many ways, he was right. What I didn’t understand then was how quickly the logic of violence makes everything impure. He refuses to be photographed or appear on camera, fearing reprisals from the Iraqi government and military. They want to dismantle and shut down the Friday prayers so that we cannot take part.” After prayers, men demonstrated, shouting epithets at the Iraqi military, waving Iraqi flags and reciting poetry. Berliners took down their wall in 1989, and then, the USA BUILDS walls in their frontier with México (separating developed from undeveloped, richs and poors); and now in Irak, separating “terrorist” and harmony one with the universe. after the Berlin Wall, the Baghdad Wall. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that everything is great, but you’re going to put all of the blame on America for people getting killed? Within a year, the palace complex—what would later become the Green Zone—went from a compound guarded by a handful of soldiers who had sandbagged small machine-gun emplacements to miles of walls and wire, choking traffic, causing confusion and increasingly making areas “no-go” for the average Iraqi. Two of his friends, imams at other Sunni mosques, had already been killed. The mosque had been taken from a Shiite cleric in 1980, during one of Saddam Hussein’s purges of politically active Shiite Islamists. • Sudarsan Raghavan – Under siege in Baghdad's Mahdi army stronghold – The Guardian The battalion would slowly clear a portion of the road of I.E.D.s then return the next day to find that insurgents had added new explosives to the same location. Get back—get back. Given the opportunity, Ghaith had taken matters into his own hands. People depended on them to get … sugar, flour, water, electricity, and fuel—everything they needed to survive.”, He stopped and pointed to a small poster of Sadr on the wall of a market across the street. Dear Bill: My guess is that your assumptions as to how the military operates in Iraq and under what conditions and rules of engagement is based on your intellectual capacity to read other persons view on the Asia after they were driven out (at great cost their own people, please notice –You know Hiroshima, Nagasaki). Constructed of “Jersey barriers” or “T-barriers,” interlocking pieces that are lifted into position with a crane and stand anywhere from four to eighteen feet high, they first appeared like oversized concrete Legos around US installations in 2003 to stop car bombers. Very few members of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), the wealthy ruling Shiite party in the government that allied itself with the Americans, complained about the sectarian cleansing in Baghdad. Leaving Baghdad: What Should the Americans Do? Soft-spoken and likeable, he saw heavy combat while serving in Anbar province in 2005 and 2006. “A lot of gangsters and militias controlled the neighborhood and the poor people,” their commander Colonel Nadum Khadim told me. mission.”, “A sure fire way to get shot is to get out of your vehicle,” Staff Sgt. Sadr City (Google Maps). After her came another, a man carrying a canister of cooking gas who tossed his purchase over the wall to a helpful bystander before squeezing through the crack and continuing on his way. the people there are not wat i would call but people whos culture is different in so many ways Everything is so easy for you keyboard jockeys, taking your potshots. As the crowd of chanting men grew around us, my translator gave me a sidelong glance. The Americans began building the wall a month ago, working east to west. The Euphrates River city with a population of about 300,000 was leveled by air power and house-to-house fighting in 2004 and then encircled by barriers, with entry to the entire city controlled by the US until last year. JAM, as the US military would acronymize them. (Baghdad: Richard Engel) The risk for US troops who are building a wall around Sadr City to contain radical Shiite militias featured; scenes shown of Charlie Company firing at snipers and erecting concrete slabs. If the US occupation of Iraq had not lasted more than five years (with no early end in sight), does anyone seriously contend that “blast Beginning in 2003, the streets of the slum saw a succession of uprisings against and counteroffensives by the US military and Iraqi government. The Mehdi took full of control of Sadr City in 2005 and began moving into other neighborhoods in preparation for a wider offensive. Let us know how one goes one with just one Then they began to appear in other parts of Baghdad, blocking roads and choking a city already beset by traffic problems. have and luckely for that iraqi civilian that was carrying a shovel (that from where I was appeared to be an RPG ) I waited that extra second. We have made the decision to freeze Jeish al-Mehdi, but still, as long as there are occupying troops, we have to keep some people working for opposition.” He was not angry, just matter-of-fact. Aijaz Ahmad: Wall meant to partition Sadr City’s residents is population control ahead of elections. My recollection of Times and other major media stories for the first three years of US occupation was that Sadr City was (apart from the Kurdish areas in northern Iraq) by far the most peaceful major population The American presence, per se, was not a problem for most people—but American attempts to extend power and to control ground were. When I first visited in 2003, its streets were flooded with raw sewage, piles of trash seemed to fill every vacant space, and goats and sheep grazed in narrow alleys and larger thoroughfares on whatever refuse they could scavenge. But already his anger was laying the groundwork. So, please find some Iraqi survivors of those horrendous attacks or if there are none, find their neighbors, because Americans are terribly uneducated about what our military did in Sadr City and before that the Instead of the hit-and-run tactics of the Sunni resistance fighters, who rarely gave the military a chance to shoot at them, the Mehdi adopted a strategy of full frontal attacks. With a hard look he read them, flipped them over, and raised his eyebrows. They directed the Iraqi government to do this—to hurt Sadr City and especially the Sadr movement. All this outrage? How did you become so educated on the subject Bill? To turn this all into a prison.”. This was the era the US had promised to end when they overthrew Saddam. You can imagine how stressful it is to have one go off and then go look for another one.”. Then an explosives ordnance disposal team ground in Iraq who may have heard it from another that read it somewhere. Charlie company build Sadr City wall - In what can only be described as a giant monument to the US military's failure to quell the violence in Iraq and unite the country, they have given up and are attempting to wall off the entire town of Sadr City, home to the greatest … They were becoming better organized—and larger. On the Iraqi officer’s desk sat a miniature T-wall, a model of the blast barriers that have gone up all over the city. I had arranged to meet al-Obaidi at the Sadr office in Khadhmiya, but when I arrived at the checkpoint to enter the neighborhood, the Iraqi police insisted that there was no longer a Sadr office in Khadhmiya. After the invasion, he was free to organize, and did so. numerous reasons including backing Israel, you can just leave the country or leave us alone. As the guerilla war against the US and its allies became more violent, Sunni rebels attempted to create a ring of territory around Baghdad from which to operate, driving out Shiites and claiming they were collaborators with the US military. Are a type of charge designed to shred through armor against American troops, Sunnis and Shiites stood... Calling themselves Americans but never doing anything for America father, who had fought against the,... Were not embarrassed to admit that the Shiite underclass a whole chain of consaquenses 1.6 2.4... Are covered with advertisements freedom, to control ground were job of looking for even... Was arrested, I already sensed the nature of Shiite resistance shifting inside the mosque had,. The Green Zone on a regular basis of my friends in the building that I standing. 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