Monday, August 25, 2008

More Walls

As always, boots on the ground give you different perspectives on different things. I was recently talking with an acquaintance about his time this summer in Iraq working with a non-profit peace organization. He said that one of the down sides of the surge has been a further ghettoization of the cities in Iraq. While more troops on the ground has definitely brought more stability, the reason for it is that huge cement walls have gone up between Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods, Kurdish and Sunni neighborhoods. Troops patrol the walls, and there is no interaction that can be helped. Under Baathist rule there is no doubt that ethnic and religious cleansing took place, primarily of the Kurdish people. The result of the surge at this point has not been to heal in any way the primarily religious division that tears Iraq to pieces. Rather, it has reinforced the divisions and is no more than a temporary solution. I was sad to hear his description of the situation and can only hope that our next president will have some new and more innovative ideas.

Markel, SJ

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