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Iraq: Not the Video Game

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Look, just chalk it up to the Internets that I can't post right now and also edit or preview, so forgive whatever ugliness goes with this. Please go read the whole thing, it's a sideline item from Juan C. Some snippets:

Haidar was concerned about the presence of foreign fighters in the resistance and its growing sectarian violence. He told me that members of his intelligence unit had infiltrated resistance groups, praying with them and participating in their planning. “Some of the resistance are organized gangs like mafias,” he said. “They use religion and claim they are the resistance. Some of the resistance has good goals. The real resistance won’t kill Iraqis. They attack the occupier, and they attack them in remote places and don’t use civilians as cover.” He explained that the real resistance just wanted the Americans to stay in their bases and not enter houses or cities. “If they get inside my house, what is left for me?” he asked in the voice of the Iraqi resistance. “I can’t even protect my own house.”

snip

In Saudi Arabia, the home of Wahhabi Islam, Shias are known as rafida, which means “rejectionists.” A highly pejorative term, it implies that Shias are outside Islam, and to Shias it is the equivalent of being called “nigger.” This is the same word Sunni radicals in Iraq and the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, use to describe Shias.

snip

Sunni fears about the Badr militia’s infiltration of the Ministry of Interior were confirmed in November 2005 when the Americans exposed the torture of hundreds of resistance suspects in its prisons. While the SCIRI leader Abdel Aziz al Hakim called for harsher methods to be used against the resistance and complained that the Americans were tying Iraqi hands in the battle against them, former Prime Minister Ayad Alawi made his comeback, condemning the new human-rights abuses and comparing them to Saddam-era excesses, a move that surely won him Sunni votes. At the National Reconciliation Conference for Iraq, held in Cairo on November 19, Iraqis from across the political spectrum met. Although Shias and Kurds at first staged a pullout when pro-Baathist statements offended them, behind the scenes Iraqi and American leaders met with leaders of the Iraqi resistance—including the Islamic Army of Iraq, the Army of Mujahideen, and the 1920 Revolution Brigades—who demanded that the occupation end, Iraqis receive compensation, prisoners be released, and political and military structures be built that are independent of foreign influence.

Like I said, go read the whole thing.

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