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Baghdadis invest hope in new security plan

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In ads on state-controlled television and newspapers, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is promoting the new Baghdad security plan as the answer to stopping the violence between Shiites and Sunnis that has fractured Iraq's capital.

That sectarian battle – which has killed tens of thousands since an attack on the Shiite Golden Dome shrine in Samarra last February – claimed more Iraqi lives Monday. Three bombings killed at least 76 people in Baghdad markets on the anniversary, according to the Islamic calender, of the Samarra bombing.

Indeed, most Iraqis interviewed in Baghdad Monday about the new security plan, which involves deploying more Iraqi and US soldiers throughout the capital, framed the problem in sectarian terms. But they also expressed hope in the latest effort to restore calm.

"I hope this allows troops to capture all the criminals in the Sunni mosques or in the Shiite mosques," says Feras al-Jabouri, a Sunni who lives in the Amariyah neighborhood, near the road to the airport in western Baghdad.

Mr. Jabouri says war-weary Baghdadis often can identify insurgents and members of sectarian militias. He predicts that many who are fed up with the devastating toll of bombings and sectarian attacks will eventually begin turning the culprits in to the newly arriving American and Iraqi forces.

Mr. Maliki seems to be hoping that Jabouri is right. In the government's campaign to promote the security plan, the prime minister is urging Iraqis to call hot lines or inform police if they have information about insurgents or militias.

But Jabouri worries that the armed militants, whom the plan intends to target, have learned how to evade major crackdowns in security. "They can run away for a few months. When everything is quiet, they will return back to their crimes."


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