July 17, 2005

KURDISTAN, SHI'ASTAN, AND ? (via Mike Daley):

Weekend of slaughter propels Iraq towards all-out civil war (James Hider, July 18, 2005, Times of London)

IRAQ is slipping into all-out civil war, a Shia leader declared yesterday, as a devastating onslaught of suicide bombers slaughtered more than 150 people, most of them Shias, around the capital at the weekend.

One bomber killed almost 100 people when he blew up a fuel tanker south of
Baghdad, an attack aimed at snapping Shia patience and triggering the
full-blown sectarian war that al-Qaeda has been trying to foment for almost
two years.

Iraq's security forces have been overwhelmed by the scale of the suicide
bombings - 11 on Friday alone and many more over the weekend - ordered by
the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

"What is truly happening, and what shall happen, is clear: a war against the
Shias," Sheikh Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, a prominent Shia cleric and MP, told
the Iraqi parliament.

Sheikh al-Saghir is close to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the supreme
Shia spiritual leader and moderate who has so far managed to restrain
powerful Shia militias from undertaking any outright attack on Sunni
insurgents. His warning suggests that the Shia leadership may be losing its
grip over Shias who in private often call for an armed backlash against
their Sunni assailants.

They've been far too patient.

After Iraq attacks, calls for militias grow (Neil MacDonald, 7/18/05, The Christian Science Monitor)

Shiite parliamentarian Khudayr al-Khuzai called on the government Sunday to "bring back popular militias" to protect vulnerable Shiite communities. "The plans of the interior and defense ministries to impose security in Iraq have failed to stop the terrorists," he told the National Assembly.

The man believed to be responsible for Saturday's explosion apparently detonated himself next to the flammable tanker, triggering a huge blast that severely damaged several buildings as worshipers were headed to the mosque for sunset prayers. Town residents said they believed the truck's driver was an accomplice in the bombing.

An angry crowd blamed policemen for a security lapse, saying that trucks are supposed to be banned from entering Musayyib, which has witnessed several previous suicide attacks this year against Shiite targets. Some of the protesters called the police "agents" of the Sunni-led insurgency, which has attacked Shiite mosques, US troops, Iraqi security forces, and the government.

Following Mr. Khuzai's outraged speech in parliament, other members of the Shiite-led majority bloc said they also wanted militias to help stop such attacks. "We need militias to provide protection," said Saad Jawad Kandil, a member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a key party in the Shiite-led alliance that dominates parliament.

SCIRI controls the roughly 7,000-strong Badr militia force, which frequently has been accused by Sunni leaders of torturing and killing innocent Sunni civilians, including clerics. Before the government's formation, the multiparty Shiite alliance called loudly for a purge of police and Army units, in order to root out Baathist officers allegedly still loyal to the fallen regime of Saddam Hussein. But Sunnis and Kurds fear that a move by SCIRI to fill that hole with Badr militia. This would effectively ensure control of the security apparatus by SCIRI, which has ties to Iran.

Despite claims of abuse against Sunnis, the Badr militia has reportedly been helpful previously in securing urban neighborhoods. During the Jan. 30 elec- tions, Shiite militiamen, through informal agreements with the Iraqi provisional government, helped Iraqi and coalition security forces set up barricades to defend polling stations. Meanwhile, militias controlled by Kurdish parties, which collaborated with US forces during the 2003 invasion, continue to play a key security role in northern Iraq.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 17, 2005 10:38 PM

It's not the way the piggy mentality looks at it, but the RKBA is rooted in the natural law of self-defense. Where the state is too weak to control the Indians, we settlers must take our weapons from the wall. We had our beginnings at Lexington and Concord, resisting British gun control, so Iraqis wanting to defend themselves should be easy to understand.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 18, 2005 6:05 AM

Not patient. Weak.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at July 18, 2005 12:21 PM

No, patient. Sistani has a noble vision of a multi-ethnic and protestant Iraq. It remains to be seen whether it's workable, but in the meantime they need to kill Sunni extremists.

Posted by: oj at July 18, 2005 12:25 PM