How to Resolve Sectarian Conflict in Iraq? Follow Israel's Model!

| Fri Apr. 20, 2007 3:06 PM EDT

Since the Israeli wall was such a great idea—and has been so effective in reducing terrorist strikes against Israel—the United States has decided to build a 3-mile long wall in Baghdad. The wall will further the balkanization of the once diverse city by dividing one of the more "restive Sunni Arab districts from the Shiite Muslim neighborhoods that surround it." My favorite thing about it is that the Sunnis and Shiites actually agree that it's a bad idea:

"Are they trying to divide us into different sectarian cantons?" said a Sunni drugstore owner in Adhamiya, who would identify himself only as Abu Ahmed, 44. "This will deepen the sectarian strife and only serve to abort efforts aimed at reconciliation."

"I feel this is the beginning of a pattern of what the whole of Iraq is going to look like, divided by sectarian and racial criteria," Abu Marwan, 50, a Shiite pharmacist, said.

The fact that Shiites and Sunnis agree on only one thing—wanting the Americans out—makes a pretty strong case that us leaving gives them a better shot at reunification than us staying—and building permanent cultural barriers.

(By the way, Mother Jones has a great photo essay of life along the Israeli wall.)