Shiite militia

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Despite Maliki Crackdown, US Still Selling Arms to Iraq

Iraqi PM hasn't followed through on his end of agreement

(Newser) - The US is charging ahead with an $11 billion arms deal with Iraq, and has even delivered some of the promised fighter jets, tanks, and weapons—even though Nouri al-Maliki has blatantly failed to follow through on an agreement intended to ensure he would not marginalize his Sunni rivals. Indeed,... More »

Infamous Iraqi Prison Still Open: Red Cross

Critics blame Maliki, who controls the elite units running the prison

(Newser) - A notorious Baghdad prison run by security forces controlled by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues to operate months after it was supposed to have shut down amid allegations of torture, says the Red Cross, which is demanding access to prisoners. Though the government denies the allegation, the situation at Camp... More »

US Arrests Key Shiite Official in Iraq

Ali al-Lami accused linked to June attack that killed 10, including 4 Americans

(Newser) - A top Shiite in Iraq’s government was arrested today by US forces, which believe he played a role in a June bombing that killed 10 people, including four Americans, the AP reports. The arrest of Ali al-Lami, who heads a committee that keeps Saddam Hussein loyalists out of government,... More »

Lebanon Condemns 'Armed Coup'

Hezbollah doing bidding of Syria, Iran in Beirut firestorm, government claims

(Newser) - Hezbollah’s takeover of Beirut is nothing less than an “armed coup,” Lebanon’s ruling party said today. “The armed and bloody coup which is being implemented aims to return Syria to Lebanon and extend Iran's reach to the Mediterranean,” one official in the US-backed government... More »

Iraq Leaders to Visit Iran to Discuss Militia Role

Top Shiites will probe Tehran's hand in arming, training anti-government forces

(Newser) - A delegation of Shiite Iraqi officials is heading to Iran to discuss its role in supporting anti-government activity in Iraq, the New York Times reports. The trip marks the first time Iraqi leaders have visited Tehran over the issue. The officials, selected by PM al-Maliki, all have links to Iran,... More »

Sunni Bloc Signals Return to Iraq Cabinet

Group cites amnesty law, anti-Shiite crackdown as positives

(Newser) - The biggest Sunni bloc in Iraq is returning to the government after a nine-month boycott, encouraged by a new amnesty law and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s redoubled attention to Shiite militias, the New York Times reports. Which cabinet positions the Tawafiq bloc will get, and which members will hold... More »

Al-Sadr Threatens 'Open War'

Radical cleric urges Baghdad to take 'road of peace'

(Newser) - Moqtada al-Sadr today threatened today to “declare a war” against Iraq unless it curbs attacks on his Mahdi Army, CNN reports. “I’m giving the last warning to the Iraqi government,” he said. “If the government does not stop the militias infiltrated with them, then we... More »

19 Yanks Die in Worst Week of Year for US

Baghdad battles against Shiite militia take heavy toll

(Newser) - The death of a US soldier in a roadside blast in Baghdad yesterday brought the death toll for US troops to 19 in a single week—the highest so far this year. Almost all of the deaths have been in the Iraqi capital, where US and Iraqi forces are battling... More »

Bush Backs Petraeus' Pause

President warns Iran against arming Iraqi militants

(Newser) - Vowing that Gen. David Petraeus will have “all the time he needs” in Iraq, President Bush today announced a pause, from August until at least mid-September, in withdrawal of troops from Iraq, CNN reports. Citing the post-surge security gains, Bush said, “we have renewed and revived the prospect... More »

Baghdad Rockets Kill 3 US Soldiers, Wound 31

Another killed in roadside bombing; death count now 4,022

(Newser) - Battles erupted in Baghdad today as rocket attacks killed three US soldiers and wounded 31, CNN reports. The first strike killed one and wounded 14 at a military outpost; “a couple of rounds of fire” killed two more and wounded 17 in the Green Zone soon after, a military... More »

1,000 Iraqis Deserted Basra Battle

Officers and men fled or balked as government battled militias

(Newser) - Desertions from Iraqi forces during last week's Basra battles have raised fresh doubts about the effectiveness of the country's US-trained security forces, the New York Times reports. Over 1,000 soldiers and policemen—including dozens of officers—either deserted or refused to fight. The US has linked American troop withdrawals... More »

Iraq PM Threatens Sadrists as Basra Explodes

'Moment of truth' as government battles Shiite militias

(Newser) - As Iraqi government forces battle Shia militants for a second day in Basra, the Iraqi prime minister has issued a 72-hour deadline for insurgents to lay down their arms. In a television broadcast, Nouri al-Maliki warned militants, many of them loyal to the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, to stand down... More »

Easter Bombings in Iraq Kill at Least 57

Al-Qaeda bomber kills 13 in Mosul, while rockets hit Green Zone

(Newser) - Despite a yearlong decline in violence in Iraq, a series of attacks on Easter Sunday killed at least 57, reports the AP. In the most severe, a suicide car bomber killed at least 13 Iraqi soldiers and wounded 42 people at a military base in Mosul, an al-Qaeda holdout. A... More »

Syria Remains Key for Foreign Fighters in Iraq: US

90% of Iraq's foreign fighters come across neighbor's borders, new report contends

(Newser) - Syria is a key jumping-off point for foreign militants in Iraq, with 90% entering through the Syrian border, the Pentagon reported yesterday. “It is not clear that Syria has made a strategic decision to deal with foreign terrorists using Syria as a transit point,” the report notes. Meanwhile,... More »

Militias Shell Green Zone in Baghdad

Assault on US-protected compound could hurt al-Sadr's credibility

(Newser) - A volley of rockets or mortar rounds hit Iraq’s Green Zone today, causing no injuries except perhaps to the credibility of a Shiite militia cease-fire extended just one day ago. The AP reports that nearly 10 explosions were heard inside the zone, which houses the American embassy, Iraqi government... More »

Al-Sadr to Extend Ceasefire

Six-month renewal of cleric's truce key to Iraq security gains, US says

(Newser) - Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr will prolong by six months the ceasefire that has reduced violence across Iraq, officials tell Reuters. Sadr today sent a sealed sermon to mosques across Iraq to be read during midday prayers tomorrow. Exact details won’t be known until those envelopes are unsealed, but “the... More »

Al-Sadr May Call Off Ceasefire

Will expire Saturday unless cleric renews; could jeopardize gains in security

(Newser) - The ceasefire ordered last August by Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr expires Saturday, and unless he renews it, his Mahdi Army will again take up arms—raising US fears that gains in staunching sectarian bloodshed across Iraq could jeopardized. Al-Sadr hasn't signaled his intentions, but some say US and Iraqi raids... More »

Iraq Splinters as Surge Quells Violence

Government holds no sway over 'highly decentralized situation'

(Newser) - The US troop surge has stemmed the bloodshed of Iraq's civil war but has failed in its other key objective of rebuilding the fragmented country into a cohesive nation. Ten months into the surge, Iraq has further splintered into sectarian strongholds run by warlords and militias, while the government's bickering... More »

Key Iraqi Police Chief Killed

American ally assassinated in precise string of roadside bombs

(Newser) - Qais al-Mamouri, a major US ally respected for his non-sectarian work as police chief in violent Babil province, was killed today by a roadside bomb, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Five successive explosions ripped through al-Mamouri’s US-issued SUV, killing him and two others. Less than an hour earlier a... More »

US Forces Talking With Sadr's Army

Dialogue with radical group represents a reverse face

(Newser) - US officials are holding their noses and negotiating with the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the LA Times reports. The US has held a hard line against the radical cleric, but analysts say that the military has grudgingly accepted that the Mahdi Army is currently holding... More »

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