The Associated Press says that Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki has announced that he is ordering a halt to construction of a 3-mile, 12 foot high wall around an area of the Iraqi capital.
I oppose the building of the wall and its construction will stop," al-Maliki told reporters during a joint news conference with the Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Moussa in Cairo, Egypt. "There are other methods to protect neighborhoods."It looks, therefore, like Maliki's government were as unaware of the US plans as locals in the Azamiyah district were. That just compounds the "hearts and minds" error. Maliki now has to convince Sunni leaders that he isn't in favor of ethnic partition. Meanwhile, US forces have to convince the Sunnis of the same thing while also trying to convince the Iraqi populace as a whole that they didn't just trample all over their nation's sovereignty...again.
He did not elaborate but added "this wall reminds us of other walls," in an apparent reference to the wall that divided the German city of Berlin during the Cold War.
The U.S. military offered no comment, saying only that the issue would be addressed at a news conference scheduled for Monday.
...Earlier Sunday, the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party denounced the wall's construction.
"Isolating parts of Baghdad with barbed wire and concrete barriers will inflict social and economic damage and it will lead to more sectarian tension," it said. "This measure will harm the residents and it will have a negative impact on the areas instead of solving the problems."
"Dividing the capital of Iraq in this way will be the starting point for dividing Iraq at the pretext of imposing law and security," it added.