September 1, 2007

GI Special Report: It's a Class War, NOT Civil War

“In Many Ways, The Sadrists Are Leading A Social Revolution”

Mahdi Army Nationalists Representing Working Class Iraqis At War With Shia Collaborators Representing Wealthy Pro-Iranians:

Bush Regime Siding With Pro-Iranians!

Aug 31 By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press

The major players in the power struggle in the south are the Mahdi Army militia loyal to anti-American [translation: “anti-Bush occupation nationalist”] cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, the country’s largest [lie] Shiite political party [translation: party loyal the Occupation Dictatorship] and the patron of the Badr militia [trained and organized in Iran and paid for by the Iranian government].

The rivalries boiled over into deadly clashes Monday and Tuesday in the holy city of Karbala during a major Shiite religious festival. Dozen of people were killed. In an apparent bid to deflect criticism of the Mahdi Army over the violence in Karbala, al-Sadr announced Wednesday a “freeze” of the militia of up to six months to allow for its restructuring.

The move was followed by reported threats by al-Sadr aides that the feared militia would resume its activity if the arrest of Sadrist officials did not stop.

Tensions have been building up in the south in recent weeks, with two provincial governors assassinated and clashes erupting in several cities between the Mahdi Army and Badr militiamen.

Al-Sadr’s supporters are primarily poor Shiites who gain from the services offered by the group and obtain a sense of empowerment through membership of the Mahdi Army.

In contrast, the Supreme Council is perceived as a magnet of middle- and upper-class Shiites and enjoying the endorsement of the wealthy and traditional clerical leadership.

“In many ways, the Sadrists are leading a social revolution,” said Joost Hiltermann, Middle East director of the International Crisis Group, a respected research agency based in Brussels, Belgium.

“It is a struggle against the traditional political class and the wealthy merchants of the Shiite shrine cities who support the Council,” Hiltermann said.

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