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March 30, 2007

Militia Thugs, Fresh From Iranian Training, Return To Baghdad

Dire news. But I suppose it was inevitable. And, I suppose, also necessary. They'll have to be beaten at some point.

Shi'ite militiamen, who melted away from Baghdad when U.S. and Iraqi troops began their security crackdown seven weeks ago, are rolling back into the city with fresh Iranian training, Iraqi and other officials said.

It is not clear whether the radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is in control of the newly trained group, which some Iraqis describe as a "secret army" trained and equipped by Iran.

U.S. forces are concerned that, despite Shi'ite leaders' assurances that they have pulled their fighters off the streets, uncooperative militias will return and seek to destabilize efforts to secure the city.

Videotapes and other evidence of Iranian propaganda have been found on people recently detained in Sadr City, said a member of one of the multiple Iraqi and U.S. security forces trying to return security to Baghdad.

...

A new element appears to be entering the territory: an extreme Mahdi Army splinter group that broke off from Sheik al-Sadr, went to Iran for training and started to return, said one Iraqi with intimate knowledge of the group.

"This is a special group, used for special operations, not controlled by Muqtada al-Sadr. This is a secret army," said the Iraqi, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals. "They work for Iranian intelligence. They have good weapons, good salary."

The group's objectives are not clear, but the Iraqi said he thought the goal was to exacerbate simmering strife between Sunnis and Shi'ites.

The daily number of sectarian executions is creeping up again in some neighborhoods of Baghdad, despite an enormous coordinated security effort by U.S. and Iraqi forces that has reduced incidents of violence.

Thanks to amish.


122 Dead In Blast: The carnage continues.


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