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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Information about Jurf as Sakhr

This morning, I read an interesting article that describes Jurf, the area and the polotics. Keep in mind that the article is one year old and refers to the the First Battalion, 67th Armor, based at Fort Hood, TX. These are the soldiers that Nick's unit, 1-501st PIR, replaced late last year. I wonder just how different a follow-up article would be if the same reporter went back now.


"...Jurf as-Sakhr, also known as Jurf, is 40 miles south of Baghdad. It is a community of crumbly dirt farms and dilapidated weapons factories and boys selling fluffy white chickens alongside the road. It sits right on a sectarian fault line that in the past few months has cracked wide open..."

"...The battalion returned to Iraq in December 2005 and is now thinly spread over 2,700 square miles between Iskandariya to the north and Karbala to the south. Because of all the insurgent activity, the military includes this area in what it refers to as the Triangle of Death.

One of the hottest spots is Jurf, once home to lush date plantations, a Scud missile testing site and the Medina Division of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard. After the invasion, Jurf, with its concentration of former officers, Baathists, weapons experts and leaders of the powerful Janabi tribe, predictably festered, becoming a terrorist sanctuary.

Just south of Jurf is Hamiya, a mostly Shiite farming town that never enjoyed Jurf's whiff of privilege. While Jurf farmers drove tractors, Hamiya farmers swung hoes, and in an atmosphere of rising sectarian tensions, these deep-seated class rivalries eventually exploded. South of Hamiya are the almost purely Shiite towns of Musayyib and Sedda..."

Full Article

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