Thursday, February 01, 2007

28 Militias in Iraq and Growing

George W. Bush can barely keep straight that there are Sunni, Shiites and Kurds in Iraq. Unfortunately, as we've known for some time, there is a growing number of militias in Iraq, each with their own agenda and sometimes government allies in the Green Zone. I would say it's probable that if elections were held today, many more groups would be represented in Iraq's parliament. Farah Stockman and Bryan Bender of The Boston Globe have the story:
The messianic Soldiers of Heaven militia that fought US and Iraqi troops in one of the fiercest battles of the war Sunday is among the more than two dozen extremist militias operating across Iraq that are fast becoming a powerful, and hidden, new enemy.

US officials this week expressed concern about the explosion of splinter groups in Iraq, noting that their sheer number makes a political resolution to the ongoing violence in Iraq increasingly difficult. One Defense Department official said in an interview yesterday that the military is tracking at least 28 militias, many of them Shi'ite splinter groups, but knows little about their leadership or command structure.


"The whole idea of a monolithic, unified Shi'ite community is profoundly wrong, and any calculation that uses that assumption will get into trouble," said Reidar Visser, a historian of southern Iraq who edits the Iraq-focused website, . "There is a belief that by inviting one or two select leaders to Washington, you may gain the confidence of the entire Shi'ite community, but that is not realistic."

Knows little about their leadership or command structure. The British probably never knew all the groups operating in India before they finally left. We know little about the Middle East. Why are we in Iraq again?

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