U.S. criticized for building wall around Sunnis
• U.S. troops building wall around a Sunni enclave in Baghdad
• Some residents are upset, and a local official says the wall was not approved
• U.S. military says the wall in Adhamiya is meant to secure the neighborhood
• The project aims to stop contact and violence between Sunnis and Shiites
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Criticism mounted Saturday over a wall U.S. troops are building around a Sunni enclave surrounded by Shiite areas in Baghdad, with residents calling it "collective punishment" and the local council leader saying the community did not approve the project before construction began.
Violence continued Saturday, with at least three people killed when a bomb left on a bus exploded in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, police said. The minibus was gutted by flames and its windows shattered.
Gunmen stormed a house in Kirkuk, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad, killing a mother, father and their two teenage daughters, police said. The victims were Kurds who had received death threats from al Qaeda-linked militants operating in the area, witnesses said.
A U.S. soldier was also killed Saturday by a roadside bomb southwest of the capital, the military said.
The U.S. military says the wall in the minority Sunni community of Adhamiya is meant to secure the neighborhood, which "has been trapped in a spiral of sectarian violence and retaliation."
The area, located on the eastern side of the Tigris River, would be completely gated, with entrances and exits manned by Iraqi soldiers, the U.S. military said in a statement earlier this week.
But some residents were alarmed about the plan, and said they had not been consulted about the barrier being built in their own neighborhood.
"This will make the whole district a prison. This is collective punishment on the residents of Adhamiya ," said Ahmed al-Dulaimi, a 41-year-old engineer who lives in the area. "They are going to punish all of us because of a few terrorists here and there.
"We are in our fourth year of occupation and we are seeing the number of blast walls increasing day after day, suffocating the people more and more," al-Dulaimi said in an interview.
Separating Sunnis and Shiites
U.S. and Iraqi forces have long erected cement barriers around marketplaces and coalition bases and outposts in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities such as Ramadi in an effort to prevent attacks, including suicide car bombs. But the Adhamiya project appears to be the biggest effort ever to use a lengthy wall in Baghdad to break contact, and violence, between Sunnis and Shiites.
The U.S. strategy for stabilizing Iraq now involves persuading Iraqis to live in peace and support their democratically elected government and launching a security plan in the capital that calls for 28,000 additional American troops and thousands of Iraqi soldiers.
Khalid Ibrahim, 45, said the Americans were working hard to divide Baghdad's neighborhoods -- something he said he wasn't sure was a good thing.
"This is good if it is temporary, to help the area with security problems. But if this wall stays for the long term, it will be a catastrophe for the residents and will restrict our movements," said Ibrahim, an Adhamiya resident who works at the Interior Ministry.
The U.S. military says it began building the barrier April 10 and hopes to finish it as soon as possible. AP Television News footage from the site on Saturday showed small concrete blocks, piles of dirt and coils of barbed wire on a main street. Eventually, the military said, the wall will be three miles (five kilometers) long and include sections as tall as 12 feet (3.5 meters).
Community leaders said Saturday that construction began before they had approved an American proposal for the wall.
"A few days ago, we met with the U.S. army unit in charge of Adhamiya and it asked us, as a local council, to sign a document to build a wall to reduce killing and attacks against Iraqi and U.S. forces," said Dawood al-Azami, the acting head of the Adhamiya council.
"I told the soldiers that I would not sign it unless I could talk to residents first. We told residents at Friday prayers, but our local council hasn't signed onto the project yet, and construction is already under way."
Australian defense minister arrives
In another development, Australian Defense Minister Brendan Nelson arrived in Baghdad Saturday on an unannounced visit, and met with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the government said.
Australia, a staunch supporter of the U.S.-led Iraq war, has about 1,400 troops in and around the country.
The U.S. soldier killed Saturday was part of a unit that had dismounted from vehicles and was on a foot patrol when struck by a roadside bomb about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement. Two others were wounded, it added.
At least 3,316 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians.
Also Saturday, Poland's defense ministry said a Polish soldier was killed and four injured when their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb Friday night in Diwaniya, 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of Baghdad.
Warsaw contributed ground troops to the U.S.-led war in Iraq in 2003, and has since led an international force south of Baghdad that now includes 900 Poles. Twenty Polish soldiers have been killed in Iraq.
In other violence Saturday, two bullet-riddled dead bodies were discovered in Musayyib, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) south of Baghdad, police said. One of the bodies was found floating in the Euphrates River, and the other was discovered in a deserted area. Both victims had their hands and legs bound, and showed signs of torture, police said
[quote]In other violence Saturday, two bullet-riddled dead bodies were discovered in Musayyib, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) south of Baghdad, police said. One of the bodies was found floating in the Euphrates River, and the other was discovered in a deserted area. [b]Both victims had their hands and legs bound, and showed signs of torture[/b], police said. [/quote]
Muslims are complete animals determined to torture and murder each other. Walls aren't going to change that.
A water supply spiked with hallucinogenic acid will help! :otto:
They should gas the whole damn place, make everyone sleep. Sweep the whole country for every last bit of firearms, explosives and crap like that, they all wake up and say... hey, what happened to my vest bombs??
Before you go apeshizzle on me, yes I know it's not realistic. :rolleyes:
Yet another tactical blunder which has absolutely no chance of working. Division is the key to success in Iraq, but instead of building a wall in the middle of Baghdad, we should be splitting up Iraq between the three different warring factions.