Sadr City

Sadr City

Sadr City ( _ar. مدينة الصدر) is a suburb district of the city of Baghdad, Iraq. It was built in 1959 by Prime Minister Abdul Karim Qassim and later unofficially renamed Sadr City after deceased Shia leader Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr. Sadr City is one of nine administrative districts in Baghdad. At only 20 sq km (8 sq mi) in area, with a population of two million, it is the most densely populated divison of Baghdad. [ [ Sadr City (Saddam City/Al Thawra),, accessed September 17, 2008] ]


Sadr City was built in Iraq in 1959 by Prime Minister Abdul Karim Qassim in response to grave housing shortages in Baghdad. At the time named Revolution City ( _ar. مدينة ألثورة), it provided housing for Baghdad's urban poor, many of whom had come from the countryside and who had until then lived in appalling conditions. It quickly became a stronghold of the Iraqi Communist Party, and resistance to the Baathist-led coup of 1963 was strong there.

After the Baath Party Coup, the district was renamed Saddam City, in honor of Saddam Hussein, the Baath Party leader. After the foreign occupation of Baghdad in April 2003, the district was unofficially renamed Sadr City after deceased shiite leader Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr.

Iraq War

In April, 2003, the 2d Squadron, 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment established their headquarters at the abandoned Sumer cigarette factory located on the Eastern side of Sadr City. In honor of the history of the factory, the military named their new camp, Camp Marlboro. In addition to the 800 Soldiers in the Squadron, the camp housed 120 military police of the 549th Military Police Company and two six man teams of Civil Affairs Soldiers from the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion.

In late March, 2004 the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, under the command of Colonel Robert Abrams arrived at Camp War Eagle, on the north-east corner of Sadr City, to assume responsibility for the governance and security of Sadr City and the North East section of Baghdad from the U.S. 1st Squadron 2nd Cavalry Regiment. The new cavalry brigade included the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment (1-12 CAV) and 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment (2-5 CAV) commanded by LTC Gary Volesky.

On April 4, 2004 the Mahdi Army ambushed a U.S. Army patrol in Sadr City, killing eight American soldiers, and wounding 57 more [ [ - Seven U.S. troops die in Baghdad fighting - Apr 4, 2004 ] ] . This sparked fierce urban fighting between the Mehdi Army and soldiers of 2-5 and 1-12 CAV. 1st Cavalry Division that lasted until June.

In late 2004 the Mahdi Army enacted a cease-fire with U.S. troops, and offered to help repair and rebuild the city's main infrastructure which was leaving millions without electricity, water or sewage. On October 10, the basewhich was hit by three mortars launched from within the city, which saw the U.S. beef up security and attach an additional 28 tanks and 14 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the camp. The following day, on October 11, the Weapons Handover Program began in the city, which was designed to purchase weapons from militants. [ [ - Weapons handover begins in Sadr City - Oct 11, 2004 ] ]

On May 15, 2005 the bodies of 13 Iraqis were discovered in a shallow grave, each blindfolded, tied and shot multiple times in the back of the head. They had been hastily buried in a vacant lot. On May 18, gunmen shot and killed Ali Mutib Sakr, a Transport Ministry driver. On May 23, a car bomb exploded outside a crowded restaurant, killing eight Iraqis and wounding an additional 89. [" [ Zarqawi is reported hurt] ", "International Herald Tribune", May 25 2005.] On March 12 three car bombs exploded, killing thirty-five people. On July 1 a car bomb exploded in an open-air market killing 77 and wounding 96. [Roug, Louise/Salman, Raheem. " [ Massacre at Market in Iraq] ", "Los Angeles Times", July 2 2006.]

In August 2005 the Iraqi government and the U.S. Army locked down Sadr City for three days to search houses for hostages and death squads. Some hostages were found and freed. Multiple death squads leaders were arrested. In these three days, the number of murders in Baghdad reached the lowest level ever comparing to the average of the previous months of the U.S.-led war.

On October 24 2006, the U.S. Army locked down Sadr City while searching for a kidnapped U.S. soldier. During the lock down, deaths dropped by 50%. When Prime Minister al-Maliki demanded the end of the blockade, the murder rate returned to previous levels. [Kukis, Mike. " [,9171,1580422,00.html At Baghdad's Ground Zero] ", "Time", January 19 2007.]

On November 23 2006, a series of car bombs exploded, followed by mortar attacks, which killed at least 215 people. See 23 November 2006 Sadr City bombings for further details.

In March 2008, during the Battle of Basra, clashes erupted in Sadr City between the U.S. and the Mahdi Army. There was intensive street by street fighting, with the U.S. relying on Stryker armored vehicles as well as M2A3 Bradley IFV and M1A2 Abrams MBT, and the Mahdi Army using improvised explosive devices allegedly smuggled from Iran.cite news|url=|title=19 Tense Hours in Sadr City Alongside the Mahdi Army|publisher=Washington Post|date= March 2008|accessdate=2008-03-29] The U.S. launched at least one airstrike, killing 10 reported militants. As of March 29, 2008, about 75 Iraqis have been killed and 500 injured. The Iraq Health Ministry claims these are all civilians, but the U.S. disputes this. [cite news|url=|title=Iraq: More US Airstrikes on Basra|publisher=AP/Google|date= March 2008|accessdate=2008-03-29]

The Mahdi Army intensified rocket attacks on the Green Zone and other U.S. bases, killing at least three American soldiers and several civilians [ [,8599,1728286,00.html?xid=rss-topstories Baghdad Green Zone Attack Kills 3 - TIME ] ] . On April 6 Iraqi and U.S. forces moved into the southern third of Sadr City to prevent rocket and mortar fire being launched from the area. U.S. engineers from the 3rd Brigade Heavy Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division began construction of a concrete barrier along al-Quds street to seal the southern third of the city off and allow reconstruction to take place. Over the next month, the Mahdi Army launched a number of attacks on the troops building the barrier, but sustained heavy losses.

On May 10, a ceasefire was ordered by Muqtada al-Sadr, allowing Iraqi troops into all of Sadr City. On May 20, in an entirely Iraqi-planned and executed operation, six battalions of Iraqi troops, including troops from the 1st (Quick Reaction Force) division stationed in Al-Anbar and armored forces from the 9th Division based in Taji, operating without the involvement of U.S. ground forces, pushed deep into Sadr City. The Iraqi Security Forces met little resistance in moving through Sadr City and took up positions formerly occupied by the Mahdi Army, including the Imam Ali and al-Sadr hospitals and al-Sadr's political office. [ [ Iraqi Troops Take Charge of Sadr City in Swift Push - New York Times ] ]

ee also

* List of places in Iraq
* List of neighborhoods and districts in Baghdad


External links

* [ The Globe and Mail article on Saddam City]
* [ Sadr City on]

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