Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sunni vs Shia: the real bloody battle for Baghdad

By Patrick Cockburn

".....The provisions of the new law are not the only difficulties facing Baathists or Sunni who work for the government or want to. It is often physically dangerous for them to work in ministries, such as the oil ministry, in overwhelmingly Shia parts of the capital.

Some ministries, such as the Health Ministry, were controlled for long by the party of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The ministry's guards were all Mehdi Army militia from Sadr City and Sunni believed the cellars of the ministry had been converted to torture chambers.

A reason why there is such intense competition to control the government in Baghdad is that it is a giant patronage machine funded by oil revenues.....

Discrimination against Sunni is not just confined to ministries. Since the savage battles between Sunni and Shia in Baghdad in 2006 Sunni have often been unable to go to work. One Sunni maintenance engineer in the non-functioning railway station was told by Shia militiamen to leave or be killed. A friendly Sunni co-worker collected his salary for several months until the militiamen told him to stop or be killed himself......"

No comments: