Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Security Crackdown Working?

"I’ve noted on this site in the past that I am a Shiite. But, as is the case with many Iraqis, mine is a mixed family of both Shiites and Sunnis. A few months ago, a Sunni relative who lived in a mixed neighborhood received a threat from Shiite thugs, many of whom have been engaged in the sectarian “cleansing” of Baghdad’s neighborhoods. The threat came in the form of a letter that informed the 70-year-old man and his wife that they were no longer welcome in the area, and that they had to leave immediately. In the envelope with the letter were bullets, obviously intended to frighten the elderly couple and to underline the seriousness of the threat.

The old man, who had lived in his modest house for at least 30 years, fled with his wife to the home of a sister.

By the way, this old couple had never been political in any way. Like most people, they had always lived quietly, avoiding conflict. They were well liked by those who actually knew them. Indeed, their immediate neighbors, including Shiites, pleaded with them not to leave. “We’ll protect you,” they told them. “Don’t go.” But the man’s wife was understandably shaken by the threat, and there was no question of staying.

They’re back in their own home now. The man called the other day to give us all the welcome news. The kind of thugs who had been terrorizing Sunnis, at least in my relatives’ part of town, have been forced to disperse as a result of the crackdown, and they no longer decide who can stay and who must go. My relatives were welcomed warmly by their old neighbors, who wanted to see this return as a sign of increasing normality.

Will the thugs eventually come back? I don’t know; that will obviously depend on many events to come. And, yes, it’s true that bombs continue to explode among the city’s innocents, and that the murderers in Iraq are still asserting themselves. But for now, my relatives, their neighbors, and the piece of Baghdad of which they are a part can live in hope again." -IraqPundit

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