Apparently hoping that good fences make good neighbors, American forces in Baghdad are erecting a concrete wall in Baghdad’s turbulent Adhamiya district to separate Sunnis from Shiites—the first barrier specifically built along sectarian lines. The wall, which will be three miles long and 12 feet high when it is finished later this month, is not a popular project among Iraqis from either side.
Shiite and Sunni Arabs living in the shadow of the barrier were united in their contempt for the imposing new structure.
“Are they trying to divide us into different sectarian cantons?” said a Sunni drugstore owner in Adhamiya, who would identify himself only as Abu Ahmed, 44. “This will deepen the sectarian strife and only serve to abort efforts aimed at reconciliation.”
Some of Ahmed’s customers come from Shiite or mixed neighborhoods that are now cut off by large barriers along a main highway. Customers and others seeking to cross into the Sunni district must park their cars outside Adhamiya, walk through a narrow passage in the wall and take taxis on the other side.