Iraq Gov’t Show Favoritism Towards Deadly Shi’ite Militia; 10 Dead Across Iraq

A Shi’ite militia known to have staged numerous attacks against Iraqi and U.S. targets since 2004 claims it is laying down its arms and seeking political office instead. Meanwhile, at least 10 Iraqis were killed and 31 more were wounded in new attacks. Again, pilgrims were targeted, but so was a parade honoring the anniversary of the founding of Iraq’s modern army in 1921.

A Shi’ite militia has promised to lay down its arms and legally join the political process, according to the Iraqi government. Asaib Ahl al-Haq, also known as the League of the Righteous, is a Shi’ite militia that broke away from the Mahdi army in 2004. They have staged perhaps thousands of attacks against Iraqis and are said to be a "special group," supported and trained by Iran. Oddly, the Iraqi government says it will allow them to retain their arms.

This act of "reconciliation" comes at a time when the government is targeting Sunni politicians for dismissal and arresting Sunni civilians for tenuous or non-existent links to the former Ba’ath party. While the central government seems curiously unwary of the League’s intentions, it has remained suspicious of former Sunni militants, even ones who fought alongside Iraqi and U.S. troops against al-Qaeda for years. This apparent favoritism could stoke already enflamed sectarian tensions. It could also mean more Shi’ite politicians indebted to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

In Baghdad, one pilgrim was killed and seven more were wounded in a blast in the Abu Dsheer neighborhood. A bombing in Saidiya killed one and wounded five people. Mortars in Washash wounded three people. Five people were wounded in a roadside bombing in Husseiniya. Five more were wounded when a Katyusha rocket landed behind a cinema. Two men were killed as they tried to plant a bomb. Mortars struck the Green Zone as a parade marking Army Day was held.

Four people were killed and three more were wounded in Ayadiya. Two of the dead were policemen.

A roadside bomb killed a tractor operator in Balad Ruz.

A policeman was shot to death in Hammam al-Alil.

In Mosul, one soldier and two civilians were wounded after an attack on a checkpoint lead to clashes.

Police arrested a fuel-tanker bomber in Kut.

Read more by Margaret Griffis

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.