At Baghdad's Ground Zero

Sadr City is home to Iraq's worst death squads. In a new push to pacify Baghdad, here's how U.S. forces hope to take it back

Karim Kadim / AP

Iraqi children walk past the bullet-riddled windshield of a vehicle after a gun battle in Baghdad's Sadr City, August 2006.

If you want to know whether a surge of U.S. troops in Baghdad will make a difference, listen to Iraqis like taxi driver Ali Mansoor, 38. Last fall Mansoor's neighborhood in central Baghdad, a mixed Shi'ite-Sunni area known as al-Sadoon, became a sectarian killing zone. The streets around his house were the scene of scores of murders and abductions every day. And then, for one week last October, the violence stopped. "There was a big change in the security situation. Everybody noticed," says Mansoor, who asked not to be identified by his real name. "In my area, there was not a...

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