Friday, March 23, 2007

NYT: Displacement and Green Zone

When Hazim Said and his family returned to their house in southwestern Baghdad on March 1, two months after fleeing a murder and intimidation campaign by Sunni Arab insurgents, Mr. Said's wife and two sons collapsed to the floor in tears of joy and kissed the walls.
It mattered little that insurgents had looted the house of computers and other electronics and used it as a hide-out, or that most of the neighbors had taken flight and not returned, leaving their block empty and forlorn.
They had their home back. "The only thing I have is this house," explained Mr. Said, a 35-year-old Shiite minibus driver from Baghdad's Amil neighborhood, which for months has been a battleground between sectarian militias. "Without this house, I have nothing. That's the only way I can express it to you."
Under the protective cover of the latest Baghdad security plan, begun Feb. 13 and dependent on the infusion of American troops into the capital, a small number of families who had fled their neighborhoods because of soaring sectarian violence are hesitantly returning and trying to reclaim their lives. Many are finding, however, that the threat of violence that drove them away in the first place remains very real.

The above is from Kirk Semple's "Reclaiming Homes, Iraqis Find Peril Still at Door" in this morning's New York Times. For those who only read the excerpt, he does note Sunnis as well. Does he note beyond that? No. Either because he doesn't know or because he thinks the reader doesn't or for another reason, no. But then the Times doesn't do a good job of covering minorities in this country either. McClatchy Newspapers did a very strong article on this awhile back. The Times approach tends to focus on the displaced and take the attitude of stuff happens. The displacements didn't just happen, they happened while the puppet government looked the other way.

Semple also contributes "As U.N. Chief Meets Premier of Iraq, the Zone Is Shelled:"

Seconds before the shell struck, Mr. Ban said he was considering expanding the United Nations presence in Iraq because of an improvement in the security situation. The deafening explosion seemed to unnerve the secretary general, who like almost everyone else in the room ducked his head as windows shattered outside and flecks of plaster drifted down from the ceiling. Mr. Maliki barely shifted.
A bodyguard rushed up to Mr. Maliki and grabbed his arm in an effort to lead him to another room, but the prime minister brushed him away, saying sharply, "It's nothing." When the bodyguard did not relent, the prime minister turned to him and snapped, "Go!"

Yes, we noted it yesterday. But it's worth noting again. Semple notes it happened in the Green Zone, the heavily fortified Green Zone. Where the 'crackdown' is taking place. He also notes:

The military announced early Friday that four American service members were killed in combat operations on Wednesday and Thursday: two soldiers in Baghdad, and a soldier and a marine in Anbar Province.

That's three noted in yesterday's snapshot plus: "A MND-B Soldier died when an improvised explosive device detonated while the unit conducted route clearance operations in a western section of the Iraqi capital."

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