Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Will Peace Hold in Sadr City?

U.S. soldier holds his sniper position on a rooftop in a Shiite
enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, in this April file photo.

From Time Magazine:

Abbas seems friendly enough, and laughs easily. As his car breezes through Iraqi army checkpoints at the entrance to Baghdad's notorious and sprawling Sadr City slum, he talks about killing Sunnis. "We caught Takfiris [members of a fundamentalist Sunni Islamist sect] who were [working] with the Americans. We didn't want to kill them, but the government was too weak to do anything at the time. So we killed them all and put them in a big grave."

A loyal Mahdi Army fighter since the Shi'ite militia was established in 2003, Abbas is now wanted by the Iraqi government. But his story echoes that of many of Iraq's young fighters; it's not one of cold-blooded murderers, but of avengers. "Al-Qaeda killed my brother. They kidnapped him from a street near his home in 2006. They wrapped his head in plastic until he suffocated to death," he says. "He was 23 and his wife was five months pregnant. Those people [who killed him] were his neighbors — his friends." (Abbas later caught and killed them too.)

Read more ....

My Comment: Sadr City is not Iraq, but it does represent a good chunk of it. The key for the Iraqi Government is to provide some basic security and some signs of progress. With oil revenues coming in, it will become easier for the Iraqi Government to pay off and/or buy off these former militia members.

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