Monday, October 15, 2007

Shiite Factioning In Iraq?

By Cernig

Two hitherto unknown Shiite militias, the Imam Hussein Brigades and Imam Moussa al-Kadhim Brigades, have claimed responsibility for attacking the Polish envoy and ambassador in Iraq, claiming that the attacks were in retaliation for Polish detentions and torturing.
Four masked men, all armed and with one holding a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, were seen standing in front of black flags bearing the names of their groups in Arabic script. One read from a prepared statement.

"The attacks are a clear message to Poland -- Leave Iraq before you drown in its swamp as Britain did," he said, referring to Britain's recently announced decision to halve its force in southern Iraq by next spring.

"We want to tell Poland that all its interests in Iraq will be targeted by our resistance, including the diplomats, companies and troops. We only exclude journalists," he said.
Assuming that these groups aren't fronts for one of the large established militias, then this points to fracturing of Shiite militants into smaller and more numerous groups. I suspect that might be a consequence of Sadr's ceasefire and cleanup of the Mahdi Army. Still, if there were many more small militant factions popping up the situation in the Shiite South could get very messy very quickly. It's worth keeping an eye open to see if this becomes a trend.

Update It looks like my original feeling that these new groups were formerly part of the Mahdi Army and don't want to follow Sadr's instructions for a ceasefire was correct.

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