17 March 2007

The difficulties with rebuilding Iraq

Efforts at restoring the infrastructure in Baghdad are running aground repeatedly due to the high degree of mistrust that currently exists between Sunni and Shi'ite residents. A Sunni Baghdadi says that the municipality refuses to clean up the sewage in front of his house because he allegedly lives in a neighbourhood full of Sunni militants. He also says he only dares to enter the Shi'ite parts of Baghdad because of his "Shi'ite-sounding" name, Hussein Hassan Abbas. Meanwhile, a construction project is stalled because the Shi'ite workers assigned to it are refusing to travel to the building site, located in a Sunni area (Christian Science Monitor).

Abbas's name sounds like that of a Shi'ite because of the Shi'ites' reverence for Hasan, Husayn (Hussein) and Abbas, sons of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, whom the Shi'ites consider to have been their first Imam.

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