“The forced segregation, fueled by extremists from both communities, has fundamentally changed the character of the country. And it raises questions about whether the Iraqis can heal the wounds of the sectarian massacres after American forces leave by the end of this month. ”
“Rather than decreasing sectarian tensions, Iraqi leaders appear to be pouring fuel on the fire.”
Further speculation about the future of Iraq after US withdrawal. Segregation by religious sect is more intense than ever. The article discusses the evolving tensions in neighborhoods that were once religiously mixed–neighborhoods like Hurriyah were once mixed and are now segregated, and until recently, most of the population lived in daily fear for their lives because both sides (Shiite and Sunni) militias dropped bombs regularly. Constant intimidation has achieved the illusion of peace, however, it is nearly inarguable that violence between groups will increase with the withdrawal of US troops. The US both caused these tensions (took Sunnis out of power and Shiites took over because they are the majority of the population) and has taken no responsibility for the long-term repercussions of those actions (widespread ignorance of cultural, religious and sectarian differences).
From this angle, it seems that the US occupation has, in many ways, put the so-called Arab Awakening in Iraq on hold. Although there have been protests and a civil war, these events have been perpetrated by insurgency factions and militant groups: the civilian population as a whole has been scared to go outside, let alone organize mass demonstrations and protests against the economic and political inequalities they face. Since the Awakening has largely been about economic inequality and people’s movements, from this perspective, it is impossible to conclude that the Iraqi people have had the chance to experience their own Awakening.
Iraq Divided <—here’s the article.