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US army to continue Baghdad wall
by Al Jazeera (reposted)
Thursday Apr 26th, 2007 9:09 AM
The US military has said that it will continue building a concrete wall around Adhimiya, a mainly-Sunni district of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.
Colonel Don Farris, of the US army, said that after briefly halting construction of the barrier, the Iraqi government had now ordered the building of the wall to continue.

"We were asked to stop placing the barriers," Farris said on Thursday.

"Since then, it has been communicated to me through the chain of command that the prime minister and Iraqi security officials have authorised work to continue."

Residents had protested against the wall.

Farris said that construction of the barrier would continue in the near future - although he did not specify an exact date.

"We will begin placing the barriers shortly, assisting the Iraqi security forces in placing the barrier along the Adhimiya," he said.

Sunni district affected

The US army and the Iraqi security services said in mid-April they had begun constructing the wall around Adhimiya to stop Sunni car-bombers leaving the area and to stop Shia death squads from getting in.

Col Farris said on Thursday that the intention of the wall was still to stop vehicle movement into and out of the area, rather than to prevent the passage of people on foot.

by more
Sunday Apr 29th, 2007 12:17 PM
LAST week, US forces in Iraq announced that a wall would be built in Azamiyah in Baghdad, without the knowledge or approval of the government and while Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was overseas.

Residents, community leaders and the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party condemned its construction. A poll found 90% of the people against it. On hearing about it in Cairo, al-Maliki ordered construction to stop.

A US military spokesman blamed the fuss on miscommunication, while his Iraqi counterpart endorsing the construction blamed “exaggerated reports” and the media. They said the controversy was just over a language problem.

Proponents of the wall call it just a “barrier”, even “gated communities ... that will create the conditions for national reconciliation” (Lt-Gen Ray Odiorno, Los Angeles Times). Another distinguished between “setting up barriers” (good) and “building barriers” (bad), while the US ambassador distinguished between “protecting” the community and “segregating” it (Associated Press).

The people, however, called it “a big prison”. Besides polarising concepts, walls also polarise sentiments, attitudes and arguments.