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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06BAGHDAD3332 2006-09-08 06:13:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

BAGHDAD'S DISTRICTS: A PRIMER

Tags:   PGOV PINR IZ 
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1. (U) Baghdad is home to nearly one-fourth of Iraq's 27
million residents, and the city is bisected north-to-south by
the Tigris river. Administratively, it has nine urban
districts. The following is a primer on those districts.

Karadah: Beverly Hills of Baghdad


--------------------------




2. (SBU) Considered one of the safest districts, Karadah
District is located east of the Tigris in south-central
Baghdad. Historically home to well-established Baghdad
families, it is ethnically heterogeneous, with densely
populated Shia neighborhoods near the river and Christian and
Sunni neighborhoods farther east. Home to many current and
former government elites (including President Talabani and
Shia Coalition leader Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim), academics, and
professionals, it is known as one of the major high-end
shopping areas in the city. Many well-educated merchants and
traders with upper-middle class incomes also live in the
district. With its reputation as a safe area, Karadah has
seen a large influx of individuals, especially Shia. Baghdad
University is also located in this district. In contrast to
the up-scale neighborhoods on the river, Zafaraniyah area in
the east is populated by lower-income Sunnis who work
principally in agriculture. Sunnis from other areas in
Baghdad have migrated to Zafaraniyah, where security
incidents occur frequently.

Karkh: Popular and with a View of the IZ


--------------------------




3. (SBU) West of the Tigris in the center of Baghdad, Karkh
District is the smallest of Baghdad's districts, and the
International Zone (IZ) takes up approximately one-third of
the its total area. The district is traditionally known for
its large green spaces and its outdoor amusement parks, many
of which remain closed to the public. One of the oldest
parts of the city, the district is predominantly Sunni, but
also has a significant Shia population. Residents have
widely varying incomes. With its aging infrastructure, it
has serious problems with electricity supply and water
distribution. Considered a relatively safe district, it was
once a major commercial center and still houses the majority
of the government's office buildings. (NOTE: Baghdad
residents sometimes refer to the entire west bank of the
Tigris as Karkh. END NOTE.)

Al Mansour: Educated, Secular, and Deserted


--------------------------




4. (SBU) In the northwest of the city, the eastern section of
Al Mansour District has the reputation for being an
upper-crust Sunni area. Generally well-educated and secular,
many of the district's residents are professionals and
technocrats. Western Al Mansour, in contrast, has lower
income residents, many of whom work in agriculture. This
area has persisting infrastructure and security challenges.
Since the Najaf uprising in May 2004 and then increasing
after the mosque bombing in Samarra in February 2006,
residents, particularly Sunnis, have been leaving the
district. Many of the shops and business in the area are
closed. With several Baghdad Security Plan (BSP) focus
areas, the district has recently regained some life with the
improving security and return of municipal services. Of
note, Baghdad International Airport and Abu Ghuraib Palace
are located on the western edge of the district. The areas
of Ameriya, Ghazaliya, and Yarmouk are also within Al Mansour
District.

Al Rasheed: Southern and Diverse


--------------------------




5. (SBU) Located in the southern area of the city, Al Rasheed
District is geographically the largest district in Baghdad.
It is populated primarily by Sunnis, with some Shia and
Christian pockets. Considered a dangerous area, the district
has seen many residents depart since 2003. The district has
some housing developments dating back to the early 1900's and
other relatively new ones from the 1980's. A generally
middle-class area, it was known as one of the popular places
for the former regime's military officials to live. With the
commencement of BSP initiatives in Al Rasheed, the security
situation has improved markedly. The areas of Masafee, Al
Doura, and Zubaida are located in Al Rasheed.

Adhamiya: Divided by More than a Canal


--------------------------




6. (SBU) Adhamiya District is located in the northern part of
Baghdad, east of the Tigris. It is divided by the Army
Canal, with Sunnis living to the west and Shias residing in

BAGHDAD 00003332 002 OF 002


the east. The district was once considered one of the
up-scale neighborhoods in the city, but has been in decline
because of violence. Many shops and banks remain closed, but
the recent improvement in security through BSP initiatives
has increased street and commercial traffic. Representative
of the district's deep sectarian divide, the Sunnis in the
western half are often considered Sunni hard-liners, and the
Shia in eastern Adhamiya identify with the more militant Shia
of Sadr City, which located to the east of the district. The
areas of Waziriya, Shaab, and Ur are located in Adhamiya.

Kadhamiya: Insular and Shia


--------------------------




7. (SBU) Kadhamiya District is the Shia heart of the city,
with its nearly 100 percent Shia population and the
religiously important Musa Kadham Mosque. Considered a safe
area for its Shia residents, the district is populated by a
mixture of upper-middle and working class individuals who are
generally considered fairly close-minded. The district has
recently seen an influx of Shia families from other parts of
the city and country. With both commercial and residential
centers, most residents do not travel outside the district.
The areas of Shula and Nur are located in Kadhamiya.

Sadr City: Shia Town


--------------------------




8. (SBU) Home to many of the militant Shia, Sadr City
District (formerly known as Saddam City) was a rigidly
planned community built in the north of the city in the early
1960's by former President Abdul Karim Al Kasem. Home to
approximately two million residents, it is by far the city's
most densely populated district. Historically, the residents
have a reputation for having low-levels of income and
education, and the district has a reputation for being
lawless and insular. A safe-haven for Shia, the district has
seen an influx of Shia from other areas of the city.
Dominated by its residential blocks, Sadr City has very
little industry or agricultural activity, making it dependent
on the rest of the city for employment and commercial
activity.

Rusafa: The Commercial Center


--------------------------




9. (SBU) East of the Tigris in the center of the city, Rusafa
District is predominately populated by Shia Arabs and Shia
Kurds. It is the largest and most significant commercial
center in Baghdad and has comparatively few residential
complexes. The elite neighborhoods near the river
notwithstanding, Rusafa's residents generally have low-levels
of education and work as traders and labors. (NOTE: Baghdad
residents sometime refer to the entire east bank of the
Tigris as Rusafa. END NOTE.)

9 Nisan: Rural with a Bit of Everyone


--------------------------




10. (SBU) Located in eastern Baghdad, 9 Nisan is
predominately Shia, but has insular pockets of Sunnis,
Christians, and Palestinians. The levels of education and
standards of living vary greatly across the district.
Plagued by severe infrastructure problems, the area has faced
significant challenges maintaining its agricultural industry,
the mainstay of the district. Bordering on Sadr City, 9
Nissan is heavily influenced by events to the north. The
area of Baladiat is located in 9 Nisan.
KHALILZAD