Side Benefit #143 to the Iraq War
Fear Drives Baghdad's Housing Bust Under Threat and Desperate to Flee, Some Families Sell at Any Price
By Megan Greenwell Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, September 21, 2007; A01
BAGHDAD -- Esad Ismael broke the most important promise he ever made.
As his father lay on his deathbed two years ago, Ismael, 43, vowed never to sell his family's home. His father and grandfather had spent all their savings to build the sprawling two-story house in Baghdad's wealthy Mansour district 70 years ago. Family memories were tucked between every tile on the floor.
But Ismael, a Sunni clothing merchant, was living in an area that was falling under the control of the Mahdi Army, Iraq's largest Shiite militia. Mindful of his promise to his dying father, he refused to move even after he began finding death threats pasted to his front door. After his brother was murdered, he gave up.
Along with failing to 'greet us as…