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Iraq | International

More US Segregation Barriers in Baghdad
by IOL (reposted)
Monday Apr 23rd, 2007 6:58 AM
BAGHDAD — Despite an outcry from infuriated Iraqis and opposition from lawmakers, the US occupation army insisted Sunday, April 22, on going full speed with erecting more concrete and cement segregation barriers across the capital Baghdad.

"The intent is not to divide the city along sectarian lines," Brigadier-General John Campbell, deputy commander of US forces in Baghdad, said in a statement cited by Reuters.

He announced building more separation walls in five Baghdad districts.

"The intent is to provide a more secured neighborhood for people who live in selected neighborhoods," he argued.

Campbell said new "barrier walls will outline selected neighborhoods around Baghdad in an attempt to help protect the Iraqi population from terrorists."

The main targets of the plan are the mainly Sunni districts of Adhamiya, Amiriya, Khadra and the mixed neighborhoods of east and west Rashid, he added.

"We've selected communities that have seen an increase in violence, a heightened violence, and we're protecting some of those communities with walls."

Nearly two months after the new security crackdown in Baghdad was proven a failure with bombs and explosions rocking the capital every day, the US unveiled the "gated communities" plan.

Since April 10, American US forces have been constructing a five-kilometer wall made of six-ton concrete sections along the highway dividing Adhamiyah from its Shiite neighbors.

Famed British reporter Robert revealed the US plan on April 11, asserting that the controversial gating tactic had proved its failure in Vietnam, Algeria and the Palestinian territories.

He said the plan, the brainchild of General US commander in Iraq David Petraeus, will include sealing off 30 of Baghdad's 89 districts with barricades, allowing only Iraqis with newly issued ID cards to enter.

Segregation

US commanders argue that the tactic is the only way to provide long-lacked security.

"We are not sealing off neighborhoods, we are controlling access to them," said military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Bleichwehl.

"It's a tactic, it's not a change in strategy to divide Baghdad along sectarian lines."

But unconvinced Baghdadis insist such "isolating walls" would only turn their neighborhoods into mimics of the Palestinian territories under the Israeli occupation.

"It will be like Palestine," 45-year-old Um Othman told Reuters.

The Iraqi teacher said the walls will break long-lasted community relations.

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