|Neighborhood of Baghdad|
In March 2007, American troops cleared the neighborhood during one of the first major operations of the "surge" strategy. In May 2007, Sunni militants affiliated with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia clashed for several days with gunmen from rival insurgent groups, including the 1920s Revolution Brigades. It was the first sign in Baghdad of "the Sunni Awakening" —what the American military has described as a grass-roots Sunni movement against Sunni extremists. Since then, the neighborhood has been surrounded by concrete walls and military checkpoints, creating enough security for the market to revive, but also frustrating residents whose movements have been restricted. Some residents praise the new volunteers, calling them "the genuine locals," not a militia. Others describe the amateur force as unknown, untested and untrustworthy. The consensus complaint is that the walls and checkpoints around Amiriya force residents to live a life under siege, unable to trust either the Iraqi security forces, the so-called "freedom fighters" or the Americans.