Today, most of Baghdad’s neighborhoods are being patrolled by coalition and Iraqi forces who live among the people they protect. Many schools and markets are reopening. Citizens are coming forward with vital intelligence. Sectarian killings are down. And ordinary life is beginning to return.”— President Bush in his speech Thursday on Iraq

Yousef al Mousawi, a 28-year-old Shiite resident of Sadr City, told this story Friday: Two days ago, his friend Mustafa was kidnapped from his computer shop. He was later found dead, shot in the head. It wasn’t unusual. In his neighborhood — controlled by the Mahdi Army militia, loyal to cleric Muqtada al Sadr — he sees bodies every day.

“The Mahdi Army isn’t just killing Sunnis now, they are killing Shiites as well,” he said. “I go to university, I’m afraid of suicide bombers and car bombs. I come home and I’m afraid of the Mahdi Army. We’re living in fear, endless fear.”

they have only two hours of electricity a day, one in the morning and one at night — and her children want to get out of the house.

A university student, he fears leaving the neighborhood because the checkpoints are manned by police commandos, units known to be rife with Shiite militiamen, who alert gunmen in civilian cars to attack suspected Sunnis. Three days ago, a father and son were killed at a checkpoint, he said.

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