••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

BAGHDAD - The World Health Organization confirmed on Thursday the first cholera case in Baghdad since 2003, raising fears the disease is spreading from the north of the country where it has struck more than 1000 people.

BAGHDAD - As the Americans patrol the Sunni Arab neighborhood of Azamiyah, people keep turning to them for help. One man asks them to bring in a fuel truck stopped by Iraqi troops. Another complains that Iraqi soldiers just beat up his brother.

The Americans used to be loathed in Azamiyah, a longtime stronghold of insurgents and the last place where Saddam Hussein appeared in public. Now the animosity has given way to a grudging acceptance, because the people of this northern neighborhood want American protection from a foe they hate and fear even more: the mainly Shiite Iraqi army.

"We feel safe when the Americans are around," says a computer engineer who gave his name only as Abu Fahd. He stopped going to work because of his fear of militiamen at the Shiite-dominated Health Ministry and now makes a living selling clothes.

"When we see the Iraqi army, we just stay home or close our shops."

The story of Azamiyah, once a favorite with wealthy Sunnis and nationalists, shows once again how difficult it is to measure the success of the latest surge of American troops amid the shifting allegiances in Baghdad.

The accommodation between Azamiyah and the Americans represents a major breakthrough for the US military, which had long considered the neighborhood among the city's most dangerous. Yet the success is largely due to a sectarian divide so deep that it has poisoned institutions such as the Iraqi army, jeopardizing the chances of reconciliation and leaving the Americans caught in the middle.

In that sense, the Americans have both won and lost.

Much of the new goodwill in Azamiyah hinges on whether the Americans can prevent perceived excesses by Iraqi troops. It also depends on how far they can ease the economic plight of a once prosperous neighborhood now sealed off from the rest of the capital by a security wall.

oh, goodie! the neighborhood is safe as long as our troops stay there! (forever?) unless the cholera comes. maybe the wall will keep it out....

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