The BBC reports that two more aides to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the leader of Iraq's Shiite majority sect, have been murdered this week. That makes five since June.
My colleague Eric Martin took a perceptive look at the list of possible suspects for these killings in his August 21st post "Who's Killing The Clerics Of Najaf"- a list that covers every major group in Iraq. Eric noted at the time that the one thing everyone agrees on is that these murders are contributing greatly to the factional breakup of the Shiite majority political bloc and that both the U.S. military in Iraq and the Maliki government have attempted to half-heartedly point the finger of blame at Muqtada al-Sadr's movement.
But Eric also pointed out that Sistani's recent opinions have been in broad agreement of Sadr's criticisms of the Maliki government and the U.S.-led occupation, saying on one occasion that the Iraqi leadership have "filled my heart with puss". Eric suggested that the strongest motivations for these murders therefore come from inside Maliki's ruling coalition - the SIIC and Dawa Parties.
In that connection, it may well be significant that, even though everyone knows these killings are contributing to political turmoil and leading to greater Shiite on Shiite violence, no-one in either the Iraqi leadership or the Coalition forces feels strongly enough about it to launch a major investigation to uncover the culprits behind any conspiracy to set Shiites at each others' throats.