Thursday, April 12, 2007

Perspective: Intimidation follows Baghdad residents to new homes

A Sunni woman holds up posters of missing relatives after being driven from their homes in the Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriya in December

BAGHDAD Nearly two months into a security plan intended to calm Baghdad by protecting residents from sectarian violence, Shiite militia members are still driving Sunni Muslims from religiously mixed neighborhoods.

Iraqi soldiers, usually ethnic Kurds, reportedly have intervened in some instances to stop the militia campaign. But interviews with Sunni residents found that most of the efforts go unchallenged in a city where it is increasingly rare for Shiites or Sunnis to remain in neighborhoods that the other sect dominates.

Residents displaced in the past four months describe a new effort that haunts them after they flee. It begins with intimidating phone calls, then escalates into bombings or the dismantling of Sunni homes.

Read the rest at the Kansas City Star