Yesterday at a conference in Baghdad, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, a prominent Shia leader who is also the head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq announced, “In gratitude to the efforts, sacrifices and heroic positions of our brothers and brave sons from the Badr Organization.”
“We must give them the priority in bearing administrative and government responsibilities especially in the security field,” he added, while the “President” of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, listened on.
The Badr Organization (formerly known as the Badr Brigade) was formed by al-Hakim’s brother in the ’80′s to fight Saddam Hussein. It has long since received funding and other “support” from Iran.
While civilians in Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi, Baquba, Baghdad, Haditha and other cities in Iraq continue to complain of being beaten, looted and humiliated by the members of the Iraqi Army who are members of both the Badr Organization and Kurdish Peshmerga, these militias now have the overt backing of the interim Iraqi “government.”
It is also being reported that members of the Badr Organization, who are essentially running much of the “security” in southern Iraq at this point, have been instituting Sharia law. Thus, women are reporting being threatened with death or rape if they attend university, and more conservative clothing rules are being enforced.
Recently a Sunni cleric was assassinated in the south.
Harith al-Dhari, the head of the influential Sunni group the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), recently accused the Badr of killing members of the AMS, when he bluntly announced, “It is the Badr Brigades which is responsible for these killings.”
One of my Iraqi friends here in Amman recently told me that Sunni who live in the south are being pressured by members of the Badr Organization to relocate elsewhere. It should also be noted that the Badr came back to Iraq on the heels of the invaders.
“You and your (Kurdish) brothers are the heroes of liberating Iraq,” added Talabani at the aforementioned conference.
So we have the US-backed Iraqi “government” overtly (they have been doing this covertly for quite some time) pitting Shia and Kurdish militias against the primarily Sunni resistance. State sponsored/propagated civil war-although most Iraqis continue to fear and loath the idea, and so many Iraqi political and religious organizations continue to work tirelessly to avert the worsening of this now low-grade civil war.
Meanwhile, violence continues across Iraq. Car bombs are a daily occurrence, yet now we have seen motorcycle bombs, push-cart bombs, donkey bombs, donkey-cart bombs, dog bombs, human bombs, bicycle bombs and recently two Iraqi policemen dying from eating poisoned watermelon.
Roadside bombs continue to take their toll on US soldiers and are now the number one killer of occupation forces. At least 1,679 have died in Iraq since the invasion, along with roughly 100 times as many Iraqis.
I’ve been getting some interesting emails, indicative of sagging morale, from American’s serving or about to serve in Iraq, including vets…
One man who is a security contractor writes, “Many nationalitiess from the planet, many cowboys. I feel like Tonto. Some of these boys are psycho. Been there done that on the international radar.”
I received an email a ways back from a veteran who said, “I am a former soldier that does not agree with what is going on in Iraq. I do NOT agree with the current administration on most issues, but especially the way they are going about this illegal and immoral war. I am deeply ashamed of what my country has done, and I am determined to do whatever I can to help those few brave reporters like yourself that are trying to uncover the truth to do so.”
Like many people, he assumed I am Iraqi because of my name, even though I’m 3rd generation Lebanese. He’d included some helpful information for me to use, then added,
“For what it is worth, I apologize for the actions of my country. I don’t consider myself a traitor or unpatriotic, but what I am seeing is so very wrong on so many levels that it is really eating at me, so much so that I felt compelled to write you about what I know. I’m so very sorry…”
Another soldier who will be deployed to Iraq this summer said, “I personally believe it was the wrong war…we should have concentrated more on Afghanistan.”
I wrote him back and told him I honored his desire to serve his country, but wished he had better leadership than the current US administration who led the country into Iraq with lies. He responded,
“I feel honored to meet a great American like you. You know man, sometimes we guys feel betrayed by our own government. I personally signed up to serve my country not to serve any particular leader.”
Another US soldier in Iraq right now writes, “Do I think it (the war) was started for moral reasons? Of course not.”