Sunday, April 20, 2008

In Sadr City's new wall, shadows of Gaza

Aijaz Ahmad: Wall meant to partition Sadr City's residents is population control ahead of elections

As violence continued in Baghdad's Sadr City district on Friday, attention turned to the wall US forces are building through the neighborhood--a wall that is reminiscent of the one Israel built around the Palestinian territories, as well as US military tactics used during the Vietnam War.

The Real News analyst Aijaz Ahmad says that the ostensible purpose of the Iraqi government's wall--to keep insurgents under control--is only part of the story. Ahmad tells The Real News that it is meant to be a form of "population control" ahead of this year's elections, which the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a vocal opponent of the US occupation, is expected to sweep. The result of the decision to build the wall is the transformation of an entire Baghdad neighborhood into a virtual prison, Ahmad says.

Based in New Delhi, Aijaz Ahmad is The Real News Network Senior News Analyst; Senior Editorial Consultant, and political commentator for the Indian newsmagazine, Frontline. He has taught Political Science, and has written widely on South Asia and the Middle East.