Sunni-Shiite Tensions Rattle Baghdad Nabes

Displaced Shiites fearful of returning to homes surrounded by Sunnis
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2008 7:50 AM CDT
Kara Moussa, 8, whose father was killed in sectarian violence, waits with his familyto receive keys to a prefab cabin in the Kazimiyah suburb of Baghdad earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
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(Newser) – Sectarian violence in Iraq may be on the wane, but bitter tension between Sunnis and Shiites continue to tear apart neighborhoods, the New York Times reports. Only 7,112 of the 151,000 families who left Baghdad to escape the bloodshed have returned, and poor rural Sunnis have moved into houses and neighborhoods abandoned by Shiites. Conflicts often erupt when original owners attempt to move back to their homes.

Returning Shiites are sometimes killed or threatened, while others remain constantly on guard against their new neighbors. Some blame America for propping up the new Sunni population. When asked what would happen if US troops left Iraq, one displaced Shiite responds, “What time is it now? Two o’clock? By four, I’d be back in my house and no one would say a word to me.”