Officer Walls Sects Apart in Baghdad

Peace barriers defy official policy and stir controversy—but they're working
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2007 11:34 AM CDT
U.S. soldiers on patrol in Baghdad   (Getty Images (by Event))

(Newser) – Lt. Col. Jeff Peterson is trying to pacify Baghdad one wall at a time, erecting concrete barriers around Sunni and Shiites neighborhoods in the sector of the city he controls. Each mini-community has its own market, mosque, and generator. It's a controversial strategy most often used during civil wars, the Journal notes—and thus flies in the face of official U.S. policy.

But it appears to be working. "The goal is to provide the neighborhoods with a chance to protect themselves, without having to rely on coalition forces, the Iraqi government or the militias,” he tells Greg Jaffe. Perhaps most provocatively, he has made some of the walled Sunni neighborhoods no-go areas for the feared Shiite police.