Two Families Survive Iraq’s Militias - 10.20.2008

VIDEO - Iraq, Baghdad/Saediya/Adhamiya - The sectarian conflict in Iraq was one of the main problems that has continued to limit stability and security in certain Iraqi provinces. Many people were forced to sell their house and flee to other neighborhoods or to leave Iraq entirely. In other cases they were not able to sell any of their property such as cars or furniture, and had to flee immediately.

According to the International Herald Tribune, the highest number of casualties due to violence was in September 2006 when approximately 2600 Iraqis were killed. According to icasualites.org, more than 3300 civilians were killed in this period. At the end of 2006 the Iraqi Minister of Health shocked the world by announcing that 150,000 Iraqis had been killed during the war by October 2006, more than three times previous accepted estimates.

Many of the casualties were because of the actions of Al-Qaeda and other Sunni militias or insurgents. On the other hand Shia militias such as the Badr Brigade and others were taking different techniques, for example kidnapping and assassinating Iraqis, and both sides created a great number of refugees and internally-displaced families.

Sunni neighborhoods like Adhamiya in Baghdad found themselves hosting Sunni refugees who fled death threats from Shia Areas such as Khalis, Karbala, Najaf, and others. The internally displaced families were desperate to find shelter, some forced to live in tents in camps inside Adhamiya. Some local residents of the neighborhoods donated items like heaters, blankets, and food to help those families. Some families who were lucky were able to make a deal with a Shi’a family who was displaced form Adhamiya, and thereby find a home to shelter them during the worst violence.

Shia areas like Sadr City have hosted Shia refugees from Sunni conflict zones like Abu Ghraib, Anbar province, and Falluja specifically. The Sadr movement has provided some of the help for these refugees, like food, blankets, and helping them by sheltering them in properties belonging to the Sadr Movement. Other families in Sadr City decided to host some of the families in their own homes.

The common rumors in Baghdad are that the Badr Brigade is kidnapping Iraqi Sunnis, and the Mahdi Army is kidnapping Sunni Iraqi as well. On the Shia side the common belief is that Al-Qaeda and the Islamic Army’s main purpose is the removal of all Shia from Iraq and to cut any kind of connection with Iran, and the Iraqi citizens find themselves confused whom to believe, the Iraqi government or a religious militia?

Alive in Baghdad brings you interviews with some of those Iraqi who are suffering all those problems everyday.


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