The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

June 16, 2014

Rise of militias could fracture Iraq

(Continued)

BAGHDAD —

After years of repeated assurances that the Badr Brigade had ceased to exist as a militia, bearded men in military uniform bearing its insignia appeared on state-run TV last week, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with army troops.

The militiamen and their leaders offer a glimpse of what may be in store following the fighters’ public empowerment.

“Anyone who supports or sympathizes with the ISIL is a terrorist,” Abu Wareth al-Moussawi, a spokesman for the Iraqi al-Nugabaa militia, told the AP from Iran. “We will never allow ISIL to control Iraq, and we will target anyone who supports it.”

Jassim al-Jazaeri, a senior leader of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah Brigades, a Shiite militia based in southern Iraq, blames the loss of territory in the north partially on Sunni political leaders. “We know that ISIL has a base of support in Mosul,” he said.

Since al-Sistani made his call to arms Friday through a representative, Shiite militias have flexed their muscles on the streets of Baghdad and in cities across the mostly Shiite south, including Basra. There were parades of pickup trucks carrying armed fighters chanting Shiite slogans and vowing to crush the ISIL.

Radical and anti-American Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Mahdi army fought some street battles against the Americans, has called for parades of Shiite militiamen across Iraq next weekend, evidence of their empowerment.

“The defense of Iraq and its people and holy sites is a duty on every citizen who can carry arms and fight terrorists,” said al-Sistani’s representative, Sheik Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalaie, in a Friday sermon. “They must volunteer in the security forces for this holy cause.”

His call quickly resonated with Shiites, who wait on every word from al-Sistani or his representatives. It was instantly used by the militias to tout their legitimacy and flex their muscle on the streets.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • Traps set in New Jersey lake while animal control searches for snake

    JEFFERSON, N.J. — Reports of a 16-foot-long exotic snake — possibly an anaconda — slithering through New Jersey’s largest lake have stoked fears among residents and led to searches and questions about what exactly is in the water....

    July 23, 2014

  • Airlines cancel air traffic after rocket attack

    JERUSALEM — A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel’s main airport, prompting a ban on flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Remains of victims from Malaysian airliner crash transported by train to Ukrainian controlled territory

    KHARKIV, Ukraine — A train bearing the dead from the downed Malaysian airliner reached Ukrainian government-held territory at long last Tuesday, but the pro-Russian separatists in control of the crash site showed little willingness to ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Contrarian’s case: Why the U.S. could be dragged down by struggling world economies?

    NEW YORK — Just as the U.S. economy is strengthening, other countries are threatening to drag it down....

    July 23, 2014

  • Dueling rulings: Courts split on health law

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s health care law is snarled in another big legal battle, with two federal appeals courts issuing contradictory rulings on a key financing issue within hours of each other Tuesday....

    July 23, 2014

  • Obama nominee pledges to ‘transform’ VA

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs pledged Tuesday to transform the beleaguered agency, saying that “systematic failures” must be addressed....

    July 23, 2014

  • Friend is first convicted in Boston Marathon probe

    BOSTON — The conviction of a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for impeding the investigation into the bombings has his lawyers wondering if anyone else who faces charges connected to the 2013 attack stands a ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Rebels release train with bodies from jet

    HRABOVE, Ukraine — Bowing to international pressure, pro-Moscow separatists released a train packed with bodies and handed over the black boxes from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane, four days after it plunged into rebel-held eastern ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Gaza death toll passes 560

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A high-level attempt by the U.N. chief and the U.S. secretary of state to end deadly Israel-Hamas fighting was off to a rough start Monday: Gaza’s Hamas rulers signaled they won’t agree to an unconditional ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Perry sending Guard troops to border

    AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Rick Perry is deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border over the next month to combat what he said Monday were criminals exploiting a surge of children pouring into the U.S. illegally. ...

    July 22, 2014