Shia Clashes in Basra

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Al-Jazeera English has a good report on the current fighting in Basra, which offers a more nuanced analysis of events than is provided by most coverage. The report makes clear that underlying the engagement is a struggle for influence in the oil-rich south between the two main Shia factions in Iraq: the Sadrists led by Muqtada al-Sadr, whose armed wing – the Jaish al Mahdi (Mahdi Army) – is the object of the security operation; and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), whose armed wing – the Badr Organisation – dominates the security forces.

h/t: Danger Room

Update:

The Council on Foreign Relations has a Q&A with Vali R. Nasr – CFR’s Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies – which provides an excellent introduction to the complex dynamics that govern the inter-relationships between the Sadrists, the ISCI, the US and Iran.

Update 2:

The Basra incidents have generated a wealth of comment. Small Wars Journal has a collection of links here.

Update 3:

According to a BBC report, British ground forces have intervened for the first time in the Basra hostilities. In what appears to be an isolated incident, British forces launched artillery shells at a mortar position in the al-Klalaf area of northern Basra, which had been firing on Iraqi troops.

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One Response to “Shia Clashes in Basra”

  1. The smell of fratricide in the morning « PhD Procrastinating Says:

    […] be continuing. An excellent pair of links to a Vali Nasr Q & A and an Al-Jazeerah English video can be found here. Via Kevin Drum, March Lynch (a professor focusing on the Middle East at GW) summarizes leading […]

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