Here is a report from inside the area that is being walled off.
In Sadr City, Basic Services Falter
BAGHDAD — Even as American and Iraqi troops are fighting to establish control of the Sadr City section of this capital, the Iraqi government’s program to restore basic services like electricity, sewage and trash collection is lagging, jeopardizing the effort to win over the area’s wary residents.
For weeks, there have been reports that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is preparing to move ahead with a multimillion-dollar program to rebuild the southern swath of Sadr City, which is currently occupied by Iraqi and American troops.
But almost a month after American and Iraqi forces pushed into the area, there are no signs of reconstruction. Instead, the streets are filled with mounds of trash and bubbling pools of sewage. Many neighborhoods are still without electricity, and many residents are too afraid to brave the cross-fire to seek medical care. Iraqi public works officials, apparently fearful of the fighting, rarely seem to show up at work, and the Iraqi government insists the area is not safe enough for repairs to begin.
On Saturday, three Sadr City residents gingerly approached an American Army position to deliver a warning: Unless the Iraqi government or its American partner did something to restore essential services and remove the piles of garbage, the militias would gain more support.
Hoping to stabilize the southern portion of Sadr City, American forces are building a wall to partition the neighborhood, and have moved with the Iraqi Army into the Thawra and Jamilla areas, south of where the barrier is being built.