If you are interested in what is really going on in Iraq right now, read this rare interview of Muqtada al-Sadr that was published in La Repubblica, translated from the Italian by Strategytalk's own parvati_roma. Particularly interesting was this portion:
Caprile: It has been said that amongst the crowd watching Saddam’s execution you too were present. Is this true?
Al Sadr: “This is absolute rubbish. If I’d been there they’d have killed me too. As for Saddam, I certainly shed no tears for the man who massacred my family and tens of thousands of my people. But if it had been up to me, I’d have had him executed in a public square so all the world could see.”
Caprile: Even if you weren’t there, can you deny that the execution room was full of your men?
Al Sadr: “No, those were not my men. They were people paid to discredit me. To make it seem I was the person really responsible for that hanging. The proof lies in the fact – just listen to the audio – that when they recited my prayer they left out some essential parts. A mistake that not even a single child in Sadr City would ever have made. The aim was to make it seem Moqtada was the real enemy of the Sunnis. And they succeeded.
I have suspected for some time that the Saddam execution video was a clever psy-op designed to splinter the Sadrists from their fellow Iraqi nationalist moderate Sunnis. There has also been much speculation on whether the worst excesses of the Shi'a militias (and the bombing of the Golden Mosque) could have been the result of covert infiltration by US controlled forces. Sadr seems to confirm both in this interview.
It seems that the US occupation forces don't want Sadr to be able to get his version of events out, since they arrested his information officer yesterday.
Dahr Jamail has written an interesting article on how some of the Southern Iraqi tribes (made up of both Sunnis and Shi'a) have begun to actively resist the occupation. These tribal groups are Iraqi nationalists or patriots, being concerned about Iran as much as they are the US. They also have connected the dot between the US occupation and the death squads:
A political analyst in Baghdad, who asked to be referred to as W. al-Tamimi, told IPS that he believes occupation forces have been working in tandem with death squads. "We have been observing American and British occupation forces supporting those death squads all over Iraq, but we were still hoping for reconciliation."
Al-Tamimi said the sheikh of his tribe, which is both Shi'ite and Sunni, was "under great pressure by the tribe's young men to let them join the resistance."
The long feared second front in Iraq seems to be underway.