Friday, March 28, 2008

Who's Who In Iraq

In case you can't keep the players straight in the latest Iraq explosion Kevin Drum has put together this cheat sheet.

WHO'S WHO....Can't tell the players without a program in the 2-way (or is it 3-way or 4-way?) intra-Shiite gang war currently underway in Basra and southern Iraq? Here's a quick cheat sheet:

  • ISCI = SIIC = new name for SCIRI = Badr Corps = "aristocratic" Hakim family = exiles during Saddam Hussein's reign = pro-Iran = generally in control of army and security forces = pro-U.S. = ally of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Dawa Party.

  • Mahdi Army = JAM = "firebrand cleric" Muqtada al-Sadr = Iraqi nationalists = originally part of Maliki's governing coalition but no longer = anti-U.S. = populist/working class orientation = controls much of the oil sector in Basra.

  • "Special groups" = rogue elements of the Mahdi Army = maybe Sadr is just as happy to have Maliki take these guys out for him, but who knows for sure?

  • Fadhila = ex-allies of Sadr = won some elections in Basra in 2005 = smallest of the three Shiite factions in the south.

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