Dora, Baghdad

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Dora
الدورة
Neighborhood of Baghdad
Power plant in Dora, Baghdad.
Power plant in Dora, Baghdad.
Dora is located in Baghdad
Dora
Dora
Location in Baghdad
Coordinates: 33°15′5″N 44°23′31″E / 33.25139°N 44.39194°E / 33.25139; 44.39194Coordinates: 33°15′5″N 44°23′31″E / 33.25139°N 44.39194°E / 33.25139; 44.39194
Country  Iraq
Governorate Baghdad Governorate
City Baghdad
City district Al Rashid

Dora (also al-Dura, or ad-Durah, Arabic,الدورة) is a neighborhood in Al Rashid administrative district, southern Baghdad, Iraq. Although this was a majority Assyrian Christian neighborhood, it became controlled by Sunni Muslim Extremists during the Iraq War. They started ethnic cleansing of the neighborhood in 2006-2007, driving out or forcing conversions and confiscating or attacking property. Hundreds of Christian, Shia and Mandeans families have fled since late 2006 due to de facto Islamist Sunni control of the area. It became an al-Qaeda stronghold as affiliated foreign Islamic fighters entered the country after 2004.[1] United States soldiers once called it "the most dangerous place in Iraq" until they were driven out.[2]

History[edit]

The area was largely uninhabited until the 1950s when Assyrians from Habbaniya started settling down in Baghdad. Most houses and churches were built during the 60s and 70s while the booming neighbourhood attracted more middle-class families. Prior to the Iraq War the area was home to the largest concentration of Assyrian Christians and Mandeans as well as mixed Sunni and Shi'ite families.[3]

During the Iraq War[edit]

In the early morning of March 19, 2003, U.S. forces initiated the invasion of Iraq by attacking a "buried command post" believed to be occupied by Saddam Hussein and his sons Uday and Qusay. In fact, the target did not exist; the strike on a disused above-ground regime leadership compound killed one civilian and injured fourteen others, including one child. (see Dora Farms strike)

In April 2004 the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division operating as motorized infantry was assigned the task of operations in the al-Dora neighborhood. It encountered al-Qaida-affiliated Muslims and fought a pitched battle immediately upon taking over control of this sector from 2-504 PIR, 82nd Airborne Division and 1-94 FA, DIVARTY, 1st Armored Division.[4][5] The unit sustained four KIA during its ensuing counter insurgency operations there, but were able to stop al-Qaida control over the region until its departure in March 2005. In 2009 the Battalion was recently awarded the U.S. Army's Valorous Unit award for its actions in al-Dora.

Soldiers in Dora in July 2007

By May 2007, Dora was receiving mainstream media attention as a hornet's nest of sectarian violence, particularly for Islamic anti-Christian violence. Christians were seen as 'soft targets' who would either pay or leave Dora rather than retaliate.[1][6]

By 2010 Dora has become a predominantly Sunni neighbourhood with Assyrians being reduced to small enclaves. Further attacks in late 2010 forced even more families to flee to more safe areas in- and outside Iraq.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Liz Sly, "Iraqi Christians Flee Baghdad", Chicago Tribune, reprinted by Assyrian International News Agency
  2. ^ Mitchell, Chris (January 2008). "Iraq Most Dangerous Place for Christians?". Christian World News. Retrieved September 26, 2008. 
  3. ^ Solomon (Sawa) Solomon, THE GENESIS OF THE MODERN ASSYRIAN COMMUNITY OF BAGHDAD, Assyrian Information Medium Exchange
  4. ^ War stories of the Tankers, American Armored Combat 1918 to Today, Michael Green, 2008, Zenith Press, pg. 319
  5. ^ Amped: A Soldier's Race for Gold in the Shadow of War, Kortney Clemons, Wiley Publishing, 2008
  6. ^ Iraq's Christians Attacked Again, This Time in Their Own Homes%5D, Associated Press access/1267629861.html?dids=1267629861:1267629861&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=May+9%2C+2007&author=Liz+Sly&pub=Chicago+Tribune&edition=&startpage=1&desc=Baghdad+Christian+district+besieged+ Liz Sly, "Baghdad Christian district besieged, Many flee Dora as militants insist on Islam or death", Chicago Tribune
  7. ^ Iraq's Christians Attacked Again, This Time in Their Own Homes, Associated Press