Mahdi Army Sparking Civil War: US

The Mahdi Army of Shiite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr is the most damaging to Iraqi security and the biggest catalyst for a deadly civil war.

Mahdi Army Sparking Civil War: US

"The group that is currently having the greatest negative affect on the security situation in Iraq is Jaysh al-Mahdi (Madhi Army), which has replaced Al-Qaeda in Iraq as the most dangerous accelerant of potentially self-sustaining sectarian violence in Iraq," said the report "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq,"  Reuters reported Tuesday, December 19.

Sadr's militia is believed to have up to 60,000 militants, and is blamed for much of the violence against Sunnis.

The 30-strong Sadrist bloc in Iraq's parliament is also a key part of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki's ruling coalition.

The Pentagon report said sectarian violence "has steadily increased despite meetings among religious and tribal leaders."

A classified memo by US President George Bush's National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, revealed last month, cast doubts on the true intentions and ability of incumbent Iraqi Premier Nuri al-Maliki to rein in raging sectarian violence.

After forming a unity government in May, Maliki, a Shiite, vowed to dismantle militias to help restore security to the war-torn country. But since then, no action has been taken.

Last year, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in report that only the introduction of significant changes to the Iraqi "sectarian" constitution and disbanding government-condoned militias can help ward off a deadly civil war.

Record Deaths

The Pentagon's figures put daily civilian casualties at 93. (Reuters) 

The Pentagon report further attacks in Iraq on US-led forces, local security personnel and civilians have surged 22 percent to record levels with civilians taking the brunt.

The average number of attacks per week rose to 959 in the three months from August 12 to November 10, from 784 in the previous three months, according to figures provided by the Pentagon to accompany the report.

Nearly 3,000 US troops have died in Iraq since the United States invaded while the violence has killed more than 50,000 Iraqis. A bimonthly UN report put the number of Iraqi civilian deaths at 3,709 for October alone.

The Pentagon's figures put daily civilian casualties at 93 for the reporting period, although the report says the numbers are not precise as they are from unverified initial reports and should be used only to draw comparisons with previous periods.

Civilian casualties from the attacks had risen a further two percent over the previous three months and by some 60 percent compared to earlier in the year, according to the report.

It again linked the increase in civilian casualties to the rise of sectarian death squads, which it said were aided by elements of the Iraqi security forces.

"Death squads predominantly target civilians and the increase in civilian casualties is directly correlated to an increase in death squad activities," the report said.

The report blasted Iraqi security forces for condoning and help the death squads.

"Shi'a death squads leveraged support from some elements of the Iraqi Police Service and the National Police who facilitated freedom of movement and provided advance warning of upcoming operations," the report said.

Members of Madhi Army militia have been accused of belonging to Shiite death squads.

Iraq's most revered Shiite scholar Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani has recently admitted his inability to prevent a civil war, lamenting that he no longer has an influence on Shiites who have switched allegiance to militant groups and death squads.

The report was released on the day Robert Gates was sworn in as the 22nd US Defense Secretary and as President George W. Bush considers changes to his Iraq policy.

Gates, who replaced Donald Rumsfeld after the Democratic congressional win in November, said at his swearing-in ceremony that "failure in Iraq ... would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility and endanger Americans for decades to come."

Outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said earlier this month the invasion opened the gates of hell in Iraq, fanning the flames of the country's sectarian conflict that is "much worse" than recent civil wars in the region.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16