Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Baghdad: City of Neighborhoods

We're starting to get reports back now from people in Baghdad on the changes there. While Anbar, for example, has been quiet for some time now, the security in Baghdad varies from neighborhood to neighborhood.

map of baghdad

A couple weeks ago Mohammed of Last of Iraqis went into Adhamiya and reported back -- in "Awakening" -- that much had changed there. The streets were filled with shoppers, stores were open, and checkpoints were manned by young Sunna. "Bottom line is that the peace and settlement can be felt in the area," he wrote, "good future appear in the horizon, but no one can be sure, because you can't trust ex-members of Alqaeda or teenager mercenary, no one knows their intention, but what they are doing to this moment is very good."

Iraq Pundit has been in touch with relatives in Baghdad and yesterday -- in "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" -- he passed on what they've been telling him:
I hear from my relatives in Baghdad that some neighbourhoods are quiet, and some remain dodgy. For example, Karrada has returned "to that Baghdad we know," according to my cousin. People can stay out late and feel okay doing so. Ameriya and Dora are fine, but Mansour is really bad. Some relatives who had lived in Mansour for decades were just kicked out by thugs. The relatives were told that because they are Shiites, they don't belong in the Sunni neighbourhood of Mansour. I really was horrified. Our street had Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Christians, and Turkoman. Nobody believes this horror. Of course, these kind of scenes are taking place all over Baghdad. Shiites kicking out Sunnis; Sunnis kicking out Shiites. Nobody believes this kind of separation will last. It's too alien to our lives.
So while Karrada, Ameriya, and Dora appear to be fairly safe, Mansour, an upscale neighborhood on the west side of the Tigris, is not. And, as Iraq Pundit notes, this sectarian friction is occurring in other parts of Baghdad. "Nobody believes this kind of separation will last," he writes. "It's too alien to our lives." That's everyone's hope -- except for AQI and the Sunni and Shia extremists on either side.

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In "Embattled Baghdad Shows Signs of Hope," Leila Fadel reports on a new TV program in Baghdad:
A local television station has begun a feature called "Baghdad Nights," showing the capital's residents shopping, eating and socializing after the sun has set— a sight that until recently was unheard of in most neighborhoods.
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From Reference.com on Baghdad:
The City of Baghdad has 89 official neighborhoods within 9 districts. These official subdivisions of the city served as administrative centers for the delivery of municipal services but until 2003 had no political function. Beginning in April 2003, the U.S. controlled Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) began the process of creating new functions for these. The process initially focused on the election of neighborhood councils in the official neighborhoods, elected by neighborhood caucuses.
The nine officials districts are: Adhamiyah, Karkh, Karadah, Kadimyah, Mansour, Sadr City (Thawra), Rasheed, Rusafa, and Tisa Nissan.

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