Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sectarian Fault Lines Explained Through Maps

I like maps. Sectarian maps of Baghdad and Iraq can be very descriptive, like the ones Zeyad used to describe how the Shia militia(s) kidnapped a large group of people from the Ministry of Education and drove them back to Sadr city. Many of the victims were later found dead.

This is a sectarian map of Baghdad that Zeyad posted on his blog in late November:

Today I found this 'new' sectarian map of Baghdad in this New York Times article and it shows how Baghdad is becoming more dominated by Shia as the Sunna flee the Shia and mixed neighborhoods:

The map is interesting enough, but if you look closely, in the bottom left corner you will read this: Source: Zeyad, Zeyad's sectarian map of Baghdad is being used by the New York Times, and that is impressive. Good work Zeyad.

Clearly many Sadrists are responsible for much of the violence in Baghdad these days, and something must be done to stop their murderous rampages. The Mehdi army, and especially the criminals among them (I hope they are a small minority) must be confronted somehow, without killing innocent civilians I hope. The Shia who believe in attacking innocent Sunna must be taught to change or they will end up in jail, or worse. The biggest challenge for the Iraqi government will be to attack the Mehdi army without the full support of the Iraqi people. It might be impossible. Even though there are criminal elements among the Mehdi army, Sadr's militia is seen by many Iraqi Shia as strong protectors of Shia. From the NYT article: ' “They told us it’s safe here, it’s a Shiite neighborhood,” said Mustafa, one of the sons. “The Mahdi Army is protecting the area,” he said, referring to Mr. Sadr’s militia.'

I also found this descriptive sectarian map of Iraq in this Washington Post article:

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

you might want to tell the washington post to correct the sectarian map of iraq.

most of the region south of the euphrates river are uninhabited (there goes half of the sunni region).

also the region between the 2 rivers (tigris & euphrates) are sparsely populated (very few cities and towns, most population centers are villages)

its no wonder the sunni triangle in iraq is the region where most iraqi sunnis are concentrated at!