US troops are building a three-mile wall to separate one of Baghdad’s Sunni enclaves from surrounding Shi’ite districts, as part of a contentious security plan that has fueled fears of the Iraqi capital’s “Balkanization.” When the barrier is finished, the Sunni community of Adamiya, on the eastern side of the Tigris River, will be completely gated. Traffic control points staffed by Iraqi troops will restrict access, the US military said.
“Shias are coming in and hitting Sunnis, and Sunnis are retaliating across the street,” Cpt. Scott McLearn of the US 407th Brigade Support Battalion, told the AP. The project—nicknamed the “Great Wall of Adamiya”—began on April 10 and is being worked on almost nightly, with cranes swinging huge concrete barriers into place. (The Guardian, April 20)