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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080919/sc_nm/iraq_lights_dc

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Satellite images taken at night show heavily Sunni Arab neighborhoods of Baghdad began emptying before a U.S. troop surge in 2007, graphic evidence of ethnic cleansing that preceded a drop in violence, according to a report published on Friday.

The images support the view of international refugee organizations and Iraq experts that a major population shift was a key factor in the decline in sectarian violence, particularly in the Iraqi capital, the epicenter of the bloodletting in which hundreds of thousands were killed.

Minority Sunni Arabs were driven out of many neighborhoods by Shi'ite militants enraged by the bombing of the Samarra mosque in February 2006. The bombing, blamed on the Sunni militant group al Qaeda, sparked a wave of sectarian violence.

"By the launch of the surge, many of the targets of conflict had either been killed or fled the country, and they turned off the lights when they left," geography professor John Agnew of the University of California Los Angeles, who led the study, said in a statement.

"Essentially, our interpretation is that violence has declined in Baghdad because of intercommunal violence that reached a climax as the surge was beginning," said Agnew, who studies ethnic conflict.

Some 2 million Iraqis are displaced within Iraq, while 2 million more have sought refuge in neighboring Syria and Jordan. Previously religiously mixed neighborhoods of Baghdad became homogenized Sunni or Shi'ite Muslim enclaves.

The study, published in the journal Environment and Planning A, provides more evidence of ethnic conflict in Iraq, which peaked just before U.S. President George W. Bush ordered the deployment of about 30,000 extra U.S. troops.

The extent to which the troop build-up helped halt Iraq's slide into sectarian civil war has been debated, particularly in the United States, with supporters of the surge saying it was the main contributing factor, and others arguing it was simply one of a number of factors.

"Our findings suggest that the surge has had no observable effect, except insofar as it has helped to provide a seal of approval for a process of ethno-sectarian neighborhood homogenization that is now largely achieved," Agnew's team wrote in their report.

Agnew's team used publicly available infrared night imagery from a weather satellite operated by the U.S. Air Force.

"The overall night light signature of Baghdad since the U.S. invasion appears to have increased between 2003 and 2006 and then declined dramatically from 20 March 2006 through 16 December 2007," their report said.

They said the night lights of Shi'ite-dominated Sadr City remained constant, as did lights in the Green Zone government and diplomatic compound in central Baghdad. Lights increased in the eastern New Baghdad district, another Shi'ite enclave.

Satellite studies have also been used to help document forced relocations in Myanmar and ethnic cleansing in Uganda.
 

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If we were smart we would let Iraq divide into their three natuaral states they had before the British drew their artificial borders.Otherwise it will take someone like saddam hussein to rule the place
I agree. Saddam was an A-hole but he did keep groups like Al-Quida and Shi'ite extremests at bay. I guess we made another mistake by taking down an enemy and allowing another enemy to gain power.

When will the US learn that the enemies of our enemies are our enemies too.

-Cade
 

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I just now saw a TV ad by some group trying to make Obama admit he was wrong about the surge. I wonder if they've seen this new information yet...
 

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I help enlighten folks
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If we were smart,we would have avoided the place altogether...
try telling that to a so called "conservative" around here.
If this doesn't prove the case for more education funding, what does?

How many still believe Saddam Hussein caused 9-11?
 

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I help enlighten folks
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couldn't POSSIBLY do any worse. Come on, you don't need Rush to do your thinking for you.
 

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I haven't listened to rush in a long time.Too many inconsistencies in his logic.And he's very pro-zionist,which I adamantly disagree with.
 

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I help enlighten folks
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watch the debates and think for yourself then
 

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AFDQ
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It never fails to amaze me just how stupid anti-American trash is, nor just how rampant that desease is in this country.. It's here where some sort of cleansing should be taking place for sure....

right Comrades?
 

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try telling that to a so called "conservative" around here.
If this doesn't prove the case for more education funding, what does?

How many still believe Saddam Hussein caused 9-11?
You are the only one I have read mentioning this. It is purely a stupid opinion. No one said Saddamn had anything to do with 9/11.

If you look at the middle East as a chess board, it was a knight move that put us into Iraq. In addition, America showed the Muslims we could go where ever we needed to go.

Some of you would never survive a shtf situation. Reminds me of young turkeys in the rain.
 

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Actually,they did link saddam to 9/11. They claimed he was aiding Al Queda,harboring terrorists,yada yada.Then the "weapons of mass destruction" thing. Bottom line was,they figured he'd be a pushover,and they wave American flags and welcome us,like Desert Storm.Not...they never thought they'd face guerrilla type street fighting and IEDs.The military has done a good job of supressing the resistance there,given the size of the country,but the cost simply has proven to not be worth it.And it ain't over.
 

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I just now saw a TV ad by some group trying to make Obama admit he was wrong about the surge. I wonder if they've seen this new information yet...
The surge has worked extremely well, to the point the success has to be picked apart to ameliorate it for election consumption. That's actually good news. Eighteen months ago it was the failing policy that was being picked apart. Only winners get picked apart.
 
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