Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Who Is Fighting Who In Iraq

At times, even those in the battle are not sure who they are shooting at.

Over the last couple of days there have been gun battles in the Adhamiyah district of Baghdad. The Iraqi Army, and US forces have been involved in the combat, and it has taken almost two days to restore relative calm.

So, what was going on there?

Although the clashes ended Monday afternoon, they broke out again before dawn yesterday when rumors swept Azamiyah that paramilitary commandos from the Shi'ite-led Interior Ministry had entered the area.

Many Sunnis consider Interior Ministry commandos, many of them veterans of the Shi'ite Badr Brigade militia, as little more than sectarian death squads responsible for kidnapping and killing hundreds, possibly thousands, of Sunni civilians during the past year.


''They came in wearing police clothes, but they weren't police," a watch group member said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. ''We defended our neighborhood, our mosques, and our honor."

Rumors spread that some of the outsiders included armed men ''who did not speak Arabic well -- meaning they were Iranians or Iranian-Iraqis," Zoheir said, referring to young Shi'ites who grew up in Iran and returned after Saddam Hussein's fall.

It sounds like an Iraqi version of a neighborhood watch saw an armed band entering their area, and deciding that they might be a death squad in operation, tried to fight them off. This triggered a response from the US armed forces, and more Iraqi forces, and 48 hours later, a few dead, and lots of confusion.

Just another day in Baghdad.


No comments: