[Marxism] The Mahdi Army and "sectarian killings" in Iraq

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 3 09:23:03 MDT 2006

Lou Paulsen wrote:
>As for Louis Pr's earlier statement that "by all accounts" the Mahdists 
>are responsible for most of the sectarian violence against Sunnis, I 
>recall that on more than one occasion when killings of Sunni civilians 
>have been blamed on the Mahdi Army, they have explictly denied it; I 
>remember that once they announced that they reportedly ordered the Army 
>not to wear its uniform for a period, so that other forces couldn't 
>impersonate them.  So this "all accounts" does not include the Mahdists' 
>own account.  Actually, among the Shi'i forces, the Mahdi Army would seem 
>to be politically the least predisposed toward disruptive sectarian terror 
>against civilians.  I don't see why it would make sense for them.

Isn't it important to take into account is what Sunni leaders and ordinary 
citizens think? Do you think that they are scapegoating the Mahdists for 
crimes carried out by who? American soldiers dressed up like Mahdists, who 
have learned Arabic?. I don't really see the need for conspiracy-mongering 
along these lines.


"Mr. Sadr's militia has frequently been accused by Sunni Arab leaders and 
American officials of kidnapping and killing Sunni Arabs, sometimes in 
retaliation for similar crimes against Shiites by Sunni death squads."

NYT, June 8, 2006


According to witnesses and a Washington Post special correspondent, 
carloads of men in tracksuits, suspected by residents to be members of the 
powerful Shiite militia known as the Mahdi Army, pulled up outside the 
Malouki mosque and fired rocket-propelled grenades at the house of worship. 
During the firefight, a bullet pierced the shoulder of a mosque guard. Cars 
were gutted and burned. Residents said they did not know how many people died.

Gunfire clattered through the hot evening air; children bawled at the 
sound. In one home, a wife locked the front door and pleaded with her 
husband not to leave the house. A former army officer barked orders to 
neighbors who assembled to mount a defense: You go up to the rooftops. You 
guard the street corners.

Saleh Muhammed, an Amiriyah resident, told a Post special correspondent 
that he dialed 130 into his cellphone, Baghdad's emergency number. "The 
Mahdi Army has attacked Amiriyah," he told the Interior Ministry dispatcher.

"The Mahdi Army are not terrorists like you," said the dispatcher at the 
ministry, which is controlled by a Shiite party and operates closely with 
militias. "They are people doing their duty. And how could you know that 
they are the Mahdi Army? Is it written on their foreheads?" He hung up the 

Washington Post, July 12, 2006


Mr. Jaafari's government has been especially unpopular with Sunni Arabs, 
who have accused the Interior Ministry of backing death squads that have 
rounded up and murdered hundreds of Sunnis in Baghdad and elsewhere in 
recent months. Many Sunnis have also accused Shiite militias, including Mr. 
Sadr's Mahdi Army, of playing roles in the killings.

''Jaafari failed to provide security and protect Iraqis,'' said Mahmoud 
al-Mashadani, a Sunni Arab and a leader of the Iraqi Accordance Front, 
which has the third-largest bloc in Parliament, with 44 seats.

NYT, February 13, 2006  

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