Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said Sunday that he was ordering a halt to construction of a controversial wall that would block a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad from other areas, saying it reminded people of "other walls."
The announcement, which he made in Cairo while on a state visit, appeared intended to allay mounting criticism from both Sunni Arab and Shiite parties about the project.
"I oppose the building of the wall, and its construction will stop," Mr. Maliki told reporters during a joint news conference with the secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa. "There are other methods to protect neighborhoods."
A spokesman for the American military, Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, said the military would remain "in a dialogue" with the Iraqi government about how best to protect citizens. The military did not say whether the wall’s construction would be halted.
Mr. Maliki did not specify in his remarks what other walls he referred to. However, the separation barrier in the West Bank being erected by Israel, which Israel says is for protection but greatly angers Palestinians, is a particularly delicate issue among Arabs.
The above is from Alissa J. Rubin's "Iraqi Premier Orders Work Stopped on Wall" in this morning's New York Times and, for a change, it's not a cringe worthy report. Rubin goes on to note that the US military is attempting to pose and pretend the wall was no big thing to me all along. She prints their current statements and notes that they had presented the wall last week as a "centerpieces" in their latest efforts.
She also covers the Yezidis incident (see last night's entry) and there it needs to be noted that there are events prior that may be left out. They are a minority and their story isn't being told. There have been incidents of Yezidi women (by Sunnis and by Shi'ites) and this was outlined in the report that everyone ignored domestically (no, not MADRE's report which got some attention). The point being, whatever happened before she was kidnapped or "kidnapped" and brought back to and by the Yezidis isn't going to be noted by people outside. The story may very well be as told (and told by more than Rubin) but there is a history of forced conversion by kidnapping and marrying and most outlets (including the Times this morning) seem unaware of that history.
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