Tension Between Iran And Shiites In

Tension between Iran and Shiites In Iraq
Iraqi Shiite Attacks on Iran

Amit Paley and Saad al-Izzi at WaPo explore anti-Iranian feelings among Shiite sectarian groups in southern Iraq.

Louise Roug of the LA Times profiles Sheikh Mahmud Sarkhi al-Hasani of Karbala.

Too dangerous in Iraq to go to mosque, many Muslims in the center of the country told NYT.

Kurds charged that Iranian forces on the border with northern Iraq fired mortar shells repeatedly at a camp of Kurdish guerrillas (presumably PEJAK, an Iran-oriented offshoot of the PKK or Kurdish Worker’s Party.) It was alleged that the Iranians killed two civilians in the barrage. Iran and Turkey both maintain that Iraqi Kurdistan is allowing guerrilla groups to operate freely, and to blow up things in Turkey and Iran then return to Kurdistan.

The only way to stop carbombings in Iraq is to ban vehicular traffic. So that’s what the authorities have done in Baghdad for the next couple days, during which Shiite pilgrims will come in the thousands to commemorate the death of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, the 7th Imam for the Twelver Shiites, whose shrine is in the northern suburb of Kadhimiyah. Such a gathering is an ideal place for Sunni Arab guerrillas to strike, in their continued quest to jump start a conventional civil war, but Baghdad authorities hope to foil them.

More on Shiite and Kurdish politicians’ efforts to dismiss (the Sunni Arab] Mahmoud al-Mashhadani as speaker or president of the Iraqi parliament.

Reider Vissar reviews Peter Galbraith’s new book and takes the author to task for the thesis that Iraq is an artificially cobbled together country.

Scroll down for a podcast interview with yours truly.

I seriously doubt that there are Sunni Arab guerrillas freely operating down at Amara, deep in the Shiite South. It therefore seems likely that if the British military base there came under concerted mortar fire on Friday, the shells were being fired by Shiite militiamen.

Iraq is projecting a budget of $39 bn. in the coming year. Most of the income is from oil, but it appears to be the case that a lot of the oil income is siphoned off by party-militias and mafias, through smuggling.

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