(Lt. Col. Robert McCarthy talks with Mayor Amir inside a fabric shop in the city center.)
In a city that has become known across the province for more than 500 reconciliations of local men with U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces, a broader reconciliation has been ongoing between Shia tribes who dominate the city and Sunni tribes who ring the outlying towns.
Balad was infamous for sectarian bloodshed in 2006. More than 57 people were killed when Sunni insurgents killed at least 14 Shiite farmworkers. Shias killed scores of Sunni in reprisals. U.S. forces were accused of not intervening soon enough to stop the killings. The Iraqi Army was finally sent to step in.
Iraqi reporters, who Tuesday went to Balad to cover reconciliation progress, know first hand about the terrible rifts caused by sectarianism. Mustafa, an Iraqi TV reporter from Baghdad, told a story of a young m
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