Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
October 12, 2008

Update On The (Unnamed) Civil War

Wall Crumbles

Dora Car Bomb

“In fact, there is no trust between us and the National Police,” said Sami Hassan Saleh al-Jubori, a leader of the Awakening Council in Dora and a former general in Saddam Hussein’s military.

He offered his own warning to the government. “If the Awakening is let go, Dora will go back to worse than it was before,” he said. “I hope you don’t consider this a threat.”

from: As Fears Ease, Baghdad Sees Walls Tumble (NYT)

Although U.S. interest in the Iraq War died with the so-called “surge,” Sunni – Shiite tension in what remains a low-intensity civil war is making the situation far from stable.  Specifically,  the recent turn-over of the Sunni ‘Awakening Councils’ to Shi’ite-government control threatens to dramatically escalate hostility in Baghdad and Anbar that was artificially suppressed due to the U.S. creation, cultivation and independent sponsorship of this Sunni paramilitary.    (The tension is evident in this NYT slideshow from three weeks ago, showing Awakening member in the Adhamiya neighborhood one week before their payroll was transferred to the Shiite government.)

Because of the lack of interest in (and corresponding dearth of coverage of) the war, images seem the most effective vehicle for getting basic points across. The top shot above, for example, appeared on Thursday’s NYT front page, leading a story based on the Dora neighborhood about how blast walls are being removed in certain parts of Baghdad.  According to the write-up, Sunni shopkeepers there have been anxious to make the neighborhood more accessible.

The image just below it comes from Friday’s NYT “Pictures of the Day” slide show, a day later.  It shows the aftermath of a powerful car bomb that targeted shops in Dora that morning.

(image 1: Max Becherer/Polaris, for The New York Times. Dora. October 9, 2008.  image 2: Loay Hameed/Associated Press. Dora. October 10, 2008)

  • MonsieurGonzo

    fwiw, crosspost 11-OCT-2008 :
    ref : “bombings and attacks… in the mixed district of Dora

    The bomb, in a red Daewoo sedan blew up in the Abu Dsheer neighborhood, a Shi’ite enclave in the largely Sunni area of Dora, according to Iraqi security officials. The district had been a hotbed of insurgency before U.S. troops engaged in major combat there last year during the buildup of forces [known as "the surge"].

    This news today is notable in light of a recent (and prominent: Front Page) story run just yesterday in the New York Times : “As Fears Ease, Baghdad Sees Walls Tumble.

    Wiki => Dora (also ‘Al Dura’) : “is a neighborhood in Rasheed administrative district, southern Baghdad, Iraq. It is primarily Sunni, [yet this relatively wealthy neighborhood retains some vestiges of] Christian, Shia and Mandaic families.

    The Dora neighborhood of Baghdad has considerable historical and symbolic significance, thus:

    In the early morning of March 19, 2003, Dora became the first victim of the air assault by U.S. forces during the Invasion of Iraq. The attempted assassination of Saddam Hussein and his sons Uday and Qusay [believed to be in a bunker in Dora, also] failed…

    imho, In a sense, here we are seeing the Western, utopian idealist notion of nation, ‘IRAQ’, ironically ~ being that ‘State’ that originally existed under the Unitary Executive rule of Saddam Hussein ~ tested under fire in the petri dish that is Baghdad’s Al Dura neighborhood:

    The bomb blew up about 4:30 as shoppers were crowding the outdoor market, officials said. As residents began removing the bodies, National Police arrived from a largely Sunni unit recently assigned to the area, witnesses said. The officers began firing their rifles in the air, apparently to clear away bystanders, they added. [But then] Residents began hurling bricks at the police and setting tires ablaze, sending columns of black smoke into the air, according to the witnesses. Some protesters yelled slogans against Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government and in support of Moqtada al-Sadr, a firebrand Shi’ite cleric known for his anti-American rhetoric, they said.
    “The people were accusing them [the Sunni police] of not protecting the neighborhood, and helping the insurgents,” said a college student…
    Three of the demonstrators were wounded by bullets, according to witnesses. U.S. military and Iraqi security forces [then] cordoned off the area with armored vehicles, warning residents to stay inside, as American helicopters swept overhead.
    . . . smoldering resentment remains.

  • lytom

    Ghetto, and slow genocide, come to mind.
    Iraqi are locked into a place with occupiers holding the outside walls we do not see.
    Meanwhile, the US citizens, the good citizens, are all into the democracy, the voting.
    There are no promises to end the torture, to end Guantanamo, to come to grips with the guilt of what the enablers helped George to do in Iraq. No end in sight, no coming to terms with what was done and is being done …no justice, no to human rights.
    Instead we have more promises of such things to come in Afghanistan, Pakistan and maybe in Iran and other places we have not even dreamed could be the next in line.

    • Brian Collins

      I watched an 80% infant mortality rate in the Dohuk hospital in 93 due to Saddam turning off the power to the north. I watched in fighting among Kurdish factions and Iraqi killing Iraqi due to sect lines between shiite and sunni. There was killing going on well before the first gulf war. There was killing going on between the gulf wars. There was killing going on during the occupation. There is killing going on after the occupation. The underlying reasons for such sectarian violence has existed for centuries and events in the recent past have had little to no effect on the killing that will continue to take place.

  • jtfromBC

    ~ lest we forget
    Baghdad Security Plan Burdens Residents: (video clip)
    “…There are approximately 500 CHECKPOINTS deployed around the perimeter as well as inside the city.

  • sfs73

    Michael: the recent turn-over of the Shiite Sunni ‘Awakening Councils’ to Shi’ite-government control

  • The BAG

    Thanks sfs.

  • anwaya

    The guy standing on top of the wall looks to me like a statue of Le Corbusier’s modulor, with head bowed ( a universal man resting from clearing the way for the universal value, peace. Which was very much part of Le Corbusier’s approach to architecture.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes