Balkanizing Baghdad


The London Times reports:

More and more, Baghdad is splintering into Shia and Sunni enclaves that are increasingly no-go areas for anyone from outside. The trend is fuelled by the ugliest sectarianism. It also reflects a crude power grab, with both sides egged on by political parties aiming to maximise their clout in the Iraqi Government by dominating as much of the capital as possible. The result is that since February, when Sunnis bombed the golden-domed mosque in Samarra, a Shia shrine, 146,322 individuals have been displaced in Baghdad, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

The paper supports the point with a fascinating map of Baghdad drawn up by the U.S. military:


Via American Footprints, which notes that in addition to all the internal displacements, over a million -- maybe two million -- Iraqis have fled the country. Jim Henley comments: "I still read bland statements on conservative sites that Iraq can't be in a civil war because we're 'not seeing a massive refugee problem.' That may be because 'we're' not looking."