november 2006



By Carlos Varea, Sep 19, 2006

The sectarian violence in Iraq is an indisputable fact. Not quite so indisputable is the idea that this violence is the expression of a civil or religious confrontation between communities that have coexisted and mixed for centuries. It is not a war pitting Sunni against Shiite, or Arab against Kurd, but is rather a struggle against sectarian, regressive tendencies empowered by the occupiers which seek the disappearance of Iraq.
First of all, the objective of the sectarian violence in Iraq is the eradication of the anti-occupation camp and secular sectors of society, the physical elimination of intellectuals and professionals, the loss of civil rights and women's rights and the expulsion of minority communities that are, in any case, uninvolved in the spiral of violence presently occurring. The sectarian violence in Iraq has the ultimate objective of dismantling the Iraqi state and breaking up Iraqi society as a step towards the territorial partitioning of the country and the oligarchic control of its energy resources.
That is its strategic facet. The ostensible "civil war" in Iraq expresses the conflict between the liberation project pursued by the resistance - the reconstruction of a fully sovereign, integrated and democratic state exercising public, social control over the country's resources [1] - and a rival model that seeks the sectarian division of the country into territorial entities controlled by reactionary forces subject to foreign interests.
Responsibility for what is happening in Iraq rests, in the first place, with the occupiers, having both introduced the germ of sectarianism into the new institutions they established and opened up the country to the Al-Qaeda network, if not to the schemes of their own secret services or those of third countries which hide behind this name. In the second place, responsibility for what is taking place in Iraq lies with the forces that opened the country to reactionary sectarianism and ethnic division.
Certainly the appearance of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and its indiscriminate attacks have favoured this now-explicit logic of "ethnic cleansing" and confessional or ethnic homogenisation, but they can never be the justification for it. Most of the attacks attributed to Al-Qaeda [2] are the work of shadowy intrigues - of the occupiers themselves, of the new authorities, or the secret services of other countries - or of a small contingent of militants, mostly foreign. They are now able to operate in Iraq thanks to the occupation, and they face the open rejection of both the population at large and the armed resistance.
If the sectarian violence in Iraq takes the form of a 'civil war' - as now foreseen by top British officials and US commanders -this would be the outcome, in the first place, of the very logic imposed by the occupiers and of the support they have given to the paramilitaries' dirty war. Secondly, a civil war would flow from a dynamic unfolding within the collaborationist camp itself which, in league with the interests of other countries - like Israel, in the case of the Kurdish factions, or Iran, in the case of Shiite sectarians - seeks to dismember Iraq so that they can manage independently the petroleum resources of the north and south of the country.
Undoubtedly, that was not the initial program of the occupiers, who hoped to be able to control the country easily by means of a liberal, and formally democratic, central government. This in no way diminishes their responsibility. But dismemberment is the aim of the occupiers' principal collaborators in Iraq, namely the new Kurdish oligarchy and the Shiite political confessionalism. The US and the United Kingdom are now trying to avoid losing the whole thing: to accommodate themselves to a new reality of Iraq effectively split up into three entities or even to partially reverse the process. For their part, the Iraqi civil and military resistance are now fighting on both fronts: against the occupation and against sectarianism. Without doubt, the war of attrition Israel is waging against Lebanon and Palestine will have its impact on how the internal situation plays out in Iraq, as we observe at the end.

Escalation of Sectarian Violence
According to official Iraqi figures, more than 180,000 people (30,000 families) have become refugees since the dome of the Samarra mosque was blown up on 22 February - an action carried out by persons as yet unknown - a figure which is doubtless smaller than the real one, as it includes only those families that have been registered as such [3]. Nearly 30,000 of these refugees have fled their homes in Baghdad in the last five months. Their numbers are quite equally divided between Sunnis and Shiites. What everyone is already calling a "civil war" is fuelled, on the one hand, by indiscriminate car-bomb attacks carried out by organisations supposedly linked to the Al-Qaeda network in Iraq (meaning radical Sunni "takfir" tendencies) and, on the other, by the murders of Sunnis and of people involved in the anti-occupation camp, carried out by Shiite paramilitaries who are entrenched in the security apparatus, specifically the Badr Brigades (now the Badr Organisation), the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and the militia of the cleric al-Sadr, the Mahdi Army.
A qualitative leap occurred in July, with the appearance of large-scale operations (attacks on entire neighbourhoods, false checkpoints, mass abductions) conducted by groups of both sectarian tendencies, with the subsequent massacre of dozens of people according to their membership in one community or the other, which is often established solely on the basis of the first names shown on their identity cards (in Iraq, identity cards do not indicate ethnicity or religion). Very significantly, these operations are being carried out in broad daylight and last for hours, with the participation of large groups of armed men who move around in vehicles equipped with heavy arms, without the occupation troops or those of the new Iraqi security forces intervening or pursuing the aggressors, even though the murders are often committed close to the bases of security forces that must have heard the shooting.
Such actions can already be considered open ethnic cleansing - more precisely, sectarian cleansing - and in Baghdad involve the establishment of pure confessional areas that connect with outlying zones in the centre and west of the country, with either Sunni or Shiite majorities - a clear foretaste of the de facto territorial split-up of the country. Achieving sectarian hegemony in the capital (or in sections of it) is an essential step towards the future design of territorial entities within an Iraq divided according to sectarian criteria.
Similarly, in Basra, its Christian [4] and Sunni communities have already been practically expelled, and secular sectors and moderate Shiites physically eliminated (for example, teachers have been systematically assassinated) by the paramilitaries of different Shiite confessional organisations, who in turn clash among themselves over the control over exports and the black market in oil [5]. In recent weeks, Shiite paramilitaries have likewise moved in to Kirkuk, where the violence perpetrated by Kurdish peshmergas (who are also integrated into the new security and military forces) against other communities already presages a battle for control of a strategic zone when it comes to energy resources [6].
It is evident that, although the Iraqi police and military security forces have grown from the 169,000 personnel a year ago to 264,000 [7] at present, the deterioration of internal security has been rampant. Indeed, it is precisely this proliferation of security services and forces which has led to the increase in violence and the effective sectarian compartmentalisation of the capital and of other zones of the country, as these forces - whether part of the government or private in nature - have been formed according to sectarian criteria or have been infiltrated by confessional militias. According to a high-ranking US military commander in Iraq, of the 26 police battalions "[...] five or six [of them] have leaders who use them in a criminal or sectarian manner, if not in both ways" [8]. As Cordesman and Sullivan indicate, "By early 2006, the militias had become a serious threat in virtually all of the provinces, cities, and areas where the insurgency had limited presence." [9] This is merely another way of stating that the occupiers have lost control of the territory, either to the resistance, or to the sectarian militias of the Shiite sectarian organizations, which are, together with Talabani's and Barzani's Kurdish parties, the occupiers' main internal allies and dominant in the new institutions.

The Reoccupation of Baghdad
This summer, the Pentagon decided to "reoccupy" Baghdad, sending up to 5,000 additional troops to the capital with tanks and armoured vehicles, with the aim of stamping out - it was said - the sectarian violence devastating the city. The first 3,700 troops started to patrol the capital on Saturday, 4 August [10]. Another 4,000 Iraqi soldiers are set to join them. In the same way, the British troops have already spent several weeks trying to regain control over broad areas of the southern Iraqi cities of Basra and Amara [11].
The Pentagon has had to fall back on troops deployed in the northern zone of the country (two battalions of the army's 172nd Stryker Brigade and up to five companies of military police) although an artillery battalion will also arrive from Kuwait. These initial troops will also be subject to an unpopular four-month extension of their service in Iraq, which was supposed to be one year [12]. According to army Lieutenant General Peter W. Chiarelli, commander of operations in Iraq, these additional troops will function as "[...] rapid reaction forces to respond to sectarian clashes" [13].
By sending reinforcements from Kuwait and prolonging the service of other units, the US will once again have more than 130,000 troops in Iraq. This new increase in US troop numbers makes two things clear: in the first place, the dubious consistency of the timetable for the troop reduction during 2006, announced by General Casey barely a month ago, and in the second place, the extreme bankruptcy and weakness of the new al-Maliki government. And, behind it all, there is the challenge for the US and the Britain to ensure a minimum degree of control over Iraq.
In this election year, the Bush administration tried to show actual progress in Iraq, particularly in the form of reduced US military commitment, meaning a smaller number of troops and casualties. Thus, since autumn 2005 the Pentagon has been trying to reduce its combat casualties by ceding - or losing - territorial control to Iraqi forces or by abusing its air and naval power in the zones dominated by the resistance [14]. In spite of this, throughout 2006 the official number of soldiers killed in combat has remained steady at an average of two per day, declining to somewhat fewer in July (when there were 30 fatalities) but going back up again in August [15]). Furthermore, without a substantial increase in the total number of US forces, transfers of troops from areas totally or partially by the resistance to flashpoints of sectarian violence (apart from the capital, at least four of Iraq's 18 provinces) weakens the counter-guerilla struggle, while not exposing US troops to a greater burden of casualties. These days, high-ranking military commanders on active duty or in the reserves, as well as analysts, repeat that the current troop numbers are in Iraq are insufficient to control the country [16].
Besides, the dispatch of more US troops to Baghdad implies that the Bush administration is admitting to the failure of the security plan for the capital implemented in June by Prime Minister al-Maliki, a plan in which the new Iraqi security forces, and not US troops, were supposed to play the lead role. On 31 May, Baghdad security plan followed the declaration of a state of emergency in Basra, the country's second most important city.
However, in spite of the measures taken in the capital (curfew, controls, and patrols) and the expectations after the assassination of al-Zarqawi on 7 June in an US air attack, the spiral of sectarian violence in the Baghdad metropolitan area since the beginning the year not only has not abated, but has risen spectacularly.

Al-Qaeda and the Shiite Paramilitaries
The collapse of al-Maliki's security plan for Baghdad can be blamed on factions within the Iraqi government itself that are behind the escalation in ethnic cleansing against the Sunni community in the capital and its surrounding metropolitan area in recent months. The exploding sectarian violence highlights the infighting within the collaborationist Shiite camp itself and the definitive decoupling of the interests of the US and the Britain from the most openly pro-Iranian factions in the Iraqi government.
As could be expected after the death of al-Zarqawi [17], and as shown in recent documents of the organisation itself [18], the Al-Qaeda network in Iraq has deepened its campaign of open terror against the Shiite community in the capital and its southern outskirts [19], resorting to car bombs in Shiite-majority districts, most recently to attacks in mixed areas, like the one carried out in Mahmudiya, to the south of the capital on 17 July [20].
Nevertheless, US military commanders recognise that the sectarian violence committed by Shiite-affiliated confessional paramilitaries is producing nine times more victims than the car bomb attacks attributed to Al-Qaeda or related groups [21]. In the first five months of 2006, the Shiite paramilitaries abducted and then murdered some 6,000 people in the capital alone [22]. In June, the Baghdad central morgue received 1,595 corpses, a number even larger than that of the preceding months. It receives between 35 and 50 bodies per day, the majority of them showing signs of having been tortured (the signature of the death squads are holes from the use of drills and eye sockets with eyes gouged out) [23]. For the whole of the country, official Iraqi statistics yield a national figure of 14,338 Iraqis slaughtered between January and June 2006.
The sectarian violence perpetrated by the Shiite paramilitary formations is making such a brutal impact for two reasons. First, because it has been tolerated - least until the designation of al-Maliki as prime minister, as we will now see - or directly organized and carried out by occupation forces, who see the action of the police-linked death squads as the most effective formula for annihilating secular, anti-occupation elements in Iraqi civil society; and for subjugating by terror the Sunni community, which is considered the main source of resistance to the occupation. It's the so-called "El Salvador option" [24], which doubtlessly served the interests of the occupiers by provoking the exodus abroad of thousands of professionals, teachers, intellectuals, women, and activists, with the consequent internal destruction of the powerful network of political, trade-union, and social organisations created in the first months of occupation.
The second factor - clearly associated with the first - lies in the fact that the Shiite paramilitaries have lodged their operations within the apparatuses of the new Iraqi security forces, especially the police and its special corps, but also in the National Guard and in the private armies of the so-called Facilities Protection Service or FPS [25]. For instance, the Badr Organisation, the military wing of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (the principal organisation in the Shiite governmental coalition called the United Iraqi Alliance, led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim), founded in Iran in the first years of the 1980s as a body of the Revolutionary Guards, with 20,000 members [26], has availed itself of the special security bodies of the Ministry of the Interior to give cover to its death squads, as denounced by the United Nations and acknowledged by the occupiers themselves [27]. For their part, death squads led by the cleric al-Sadr, the Mahdi Army, with some 10,000 troops, operate as uniformed private security forces in the ministries they control (five in al-Maliki's new government) and from within the police, although they carry out attacks against Baghdad neigbourhoods like Adamiya in their own distinctive black uniforms [28]. Between them, Badr and the Mahdi Army thus control the estimated 65,000 members of the different security forces of the Ministry of the Interior deployed in Baghdad [29]. Moreover, the sectarian allegiance of the National Guard battalions has meant that the Shiite paramilitary groups habitually receive support from Iraqi government soldiers in their attacks, as seen in the successive attempts to penetrate the Adamiya district since April, in which US troops also participated, according to eyewitnesses [30].

Toward Sectarian Federalism
The violence of the Shiite paramilitaries is usually presented in the mass media as defensive, that is, as this community's legitimate response to the massive Al-Qaeda attacks, or to the resistance's intention to take advantage of the internal situation created after the fall of Saddam Hussein regime. This is the idea that enables one to argue that what is happening in Iraq is a prelude to "civil war." Nonetheless, the exponential growth of violence committed by the Shiite paramilitaries during 2006 is essentially a reflection of clashes within the collaborationist Shiite sectarian block itself, as we have already pointed out.
The US imposed the election of Nuri al-Maliki - an irrelevant and insubstantial figure - as the new prime minister of Iraq's first non-interim government, having openly vetoed his predecessor, al-Jafari, Tehran's candidate, whom Washington and London accused of sheltering Badr and Mahdi army death squads within the new security apparatus. For months, the designation of al-Maliki faced the staunch opposition of al-Jaafari's mentors, the political formations of the militias: SCIRI and the al-Sadr faction, respectively [31]. With 30 of the 275 seats in the new parliament, al-Sadr's final approval of al-Maliki's appointment earned him five ministries in the government and months of US tolerance for his death squad's operations with total impunity against the Sunni community and the secular civil society.
The Bush administration wants al-Maliki to favor the maintenance, within the so-called "political process", of the Sunni political formations (basically of the Islamic Party) with the aim of giving it the appearance of unity (but, let us be clear, on a sectarian basis), and thereby facilitate a possible cease-fire on the part of moderate Sunni Islamist sectors in the resistance. This is the logic underlying the already-forgotten project of reconciliation presented by al-Maliki last 25 June [32].
Thus, the US objective of achieving even minimal internal stabilization of Iraq and the al-Maliki government's own commitment necessarily include bringing under control the operations of the Shiite paramilitaries and their death squads. The logic is easy to understand, as al-Abdul Ilah al-Bayati explains:
"What is fundamental [...] is to give the impression that Iran and the death squads, controlled directly or indirectly by that country, constitute the true danger threatening Iraq. And that, consequently, the Arabic resistance should cooperate with the US and the occupation regime in order to fight off this danger. No patriot in his right mind, nor any reasonable person, can fall into that trap, regardless of whether or not he is involved with the national armed resistance. Everyone is aware that the 'political process', no matter how it may be disguised, can be summarised this way: power for the collaborators and the petroleum for the US. The change of collaborators doesn't change the project." [33]
In such an undertaking, neither the US and the United Kingdom nor al-Maliki can count on much support within the government itself. Very significantly, in clear contrast to al-Maliki's claims, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the SCIRI and previously the head of the Badr Brigades, speaking in Najaf, took advantage of the third anniversary of the assault on his brother Baqir (24 July) to warn the occupiers not to interfere in the effort to eradicate "terrorism", which he identified with the Ba'athist resistance and Al-Qaeda. Al-Hakim, in what is a clear endorsement of security agencies persistently accused of encouraging sectarian violence and sheltering the death squads, confirmed in reference to the US that "the issue of security [in Iraq] should fall to the security agencies and no one should interfere in that". Al-Hakim also called for the formation of neighbourhood-based "defense committees", thus encouraging a further increase in the numbers of paramilitary structures [34].
In the same way, it is no accident that the US and British occupation forces in Baghdad, Diwaniyah, Basra, and other southern cities have assaulted offices of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army (actions which involved the death of 15 paramilitaries in a clash with US troops south of the capital), since the end of July and throughout August, even resorting to aerial bombardment of the Medina al-Sadr district of Baghdad in the early morning of 6-7 August - these latter attacks cost the lives of 30 people and have been criticised by Prime Minister al-Maliki and President Talabani [35]: this is not an operation against against a resistance group but rather against a renegade faction of the collaborationist government playing by its own rules and thriving within the Shiite sectarian camp by radicalising its anti-occupation and anti-Israeli rhetoric, now more so against the backdrop of the aggression against Lebanon.
Both internal and regional factors are key to this situation. The Iraqi parliament will have to address, in what remains of the year, overriding issues already dealt with in the 2005 constitution, namely federalism and - this is the important part - the elimination of a single country-wide legal framework for civil and economic rights. Again, al-Hakim - as well as Vice-President Abdel Abd al-Mahdi, also a high-ranking SCIRI official - has recently indicated his intention of establishing an autonomous Shiite region which would include nine of the country's 18 provinces, from Babylonia (Babil) to Basra, following the example of autonomy already declared in Kurdistan [36].

Iraq and the New Israeli Aggression against Lebanon
The sectarian violence justifies and favours "ethnic cleansing" and makes it possible to homogenise territories by means of terror. As is occurring in Kurdistan, in the centre and south of the country (where Al-Qaeda does not operate at all) the violence of the Badr or al-Sadr paramilitaries is aimed at eliminating rivals for control of the petroleum black market, expelling Sunni or Christian minority communities, eradicating secularists, and impeding the expansion of the anti-occupation resistance. In short, it means the establishment of an authoritarian Islamic regime which will proceed to take direct control of the hydrocarbons in the south of the country. The experience of these years of occupation and the public statements of collaborationist forces lead one to assume that regional control of Iraq's petroleum reserves will be accompanied by widespread corruption and based on capitalist criteria [37]. (??) And this scenario is more in tune with the strategic interests of the US and the Britain, as well as those of Iran, in the same way that in Kurdistan, it is more in tune with Israel's interests. (??)
In this state of affairs, at a criticial moment for the future of Iraq and for its entire population, the war of aggression waged by Israel against Lebanon and Palestine has at least three linkages with the situation inside Iraq.
In the first place, Israel has acted in an independently of the US, taking advantage of the position of extreme weakness in which the Iraq conflict has left the Bush administration both internationally and regionally. The US government was forced - and not the other way around - to endorse Israel's military adventure in Lebanon and to place it in the framework of its "global war on terror," but the US will have to shelve for a long time the plans for the political stabilisation and economic integration of the Middle East it had revived after the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.
In the second place, as a result of the new regional war, the Bush administration has been able to divert international and domestic attention away from the atrocious situation Iraq is having to bear, its population sinking into misery, chaos, and violence, while tens of thousands are fleeing a country for whose future all bets are off. And the US has also deflected attention from its own quagmire, after months of scandals (most recently, the rape and murder of an teenage Iraqi girl by US troops in Mahmudiya on 12 March, the conviction of a Marine unit for the murders in Haditha, and the proven embezzlement of funds controlled by the occupiers), and at a time when its direct military involvement is increasing and not diminishing - in contrast to US announcements - as confirmed by the reoccupation of Baghdad. The Bush administration has no choice but to tell the American people that the continuation of the US presence in Iraq has the "noble" objective of saving the Iraqi people from themselves, from "civil war," which is the story now being told by the embedded journalists from the US major mass media.
But - this is the third connection - this short respite notwithstanding, the war of devastation which Israel has unleashed against Lebanon and Palestine since 11 July will undermine US and British plans to use Prime Minister al-Maliki to recover some of the control lost in Iraq. The military and political capacity of Hezbollah and Iran to establish themselves as major anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist forces, taking advantage of the new regional war, will encourage - and already is encouraging - Iraqi Shiite sectarian factions closely allied to Iran to shake off the tutelage of the occupiers once and for all, owing to whom they have been able to establish themselves in the country, but who are now dispensable.
Israel's aggression against Lebanon has been condemned by all the members of the Iraqi collaborationist government, including al-Maliki himself, who had the bad luck to have to do it during his visit to London and Washington. Likewise, at the end of July, the supreme Iraqi Shiite spiritual leader, the Grand Ayatollah Ali as-Sistani, condemned the Israeli aggression against Lebanon and - without mentioning the US - asked the Islamic world not to forget which countries are blocking a ceasefire, to Israel's benefit [38]. Finally, on Friday, 4 August, al-Sadr called for a national march in the district which bears the name of his father in support of Hezbollah, with the open support of several ministers of the al-Maliki government (among them the minister of defense) who belong to other Shiite sectarian organisations [39]. A proof of the real power acquired by al-Sadr since his revolts in 2004 is that, as we have indicated, Prime Minister al-Maliki condemned the US troops' attacks against this same district 48 hours after the gathering of several tens of thousands of his followers. The US cannot openly attack al-Sadr's paramilitaries without weakening al-Maliki's own position. As a US military officer pointed out recently, in order to avoid the entanglement: "We [the Americans] have to be very careful not to demonize the whole al-Sadr movement" [40]. With a Kurdistan already independent, and caught between the operations of the resistance in a good part of the country and the danger of a Shiite pro-Iran revolt in the rest, the occupiers have a really complicated situation in Iraq.
While the resistance waged by Hezbollah - a democratic political force that works within Lebanese institutions - against the Israeli aggression has earned unquestionable backing within Lebanese society, the Iraqi Shiite sectarian organisations are making use of the new war in the Middle East to move forward in their project of fragmenting Iraq along sectarian lines and implement a model that is the opposite of the one in Lebanon (and which Israel has sought to wreck, again and again). Together with the civilian victims of Israel's bombardments of Lebanon and Palestine, the Iraqi people's struggle to liberate themselves from occupation and sectarianism could thus end up being more "collateral damage" of the new Middle East war.


1. See in IraqSolidaridad: "Meeting of the CEOSI Delegation with the Ba'ath Party, the Popular Union, and the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance - Project for the Creation of the National Liberation Front and 'For a democratic and independent Iraq' (Joint declaration of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, and the Association of Intellectuals against the Occupation)" ["Reunión de la Delegación de la CEOSI con el Partido Baaz, la Unión del Pueblo y la Alianza Patriótica Iraquí - Proyecto de creación del Frente de Liberación Nacional y 'Por un Iraq democrático e independiente' (Declaración conjunta del Partido Baaz Árabe Socialista, la Alianza Patriótica Iraquí y la Asociación de Intelectuales contra la Ocupación")].
2. The Pentagon acknowledged in January 2006 that of the 34,131 attacks carried out in 2005, only 67 were suicide attacks and 441 with car bombs, those of Al-Qaeda, meaning that fewer than 1% of the total of the armed actions (UPI, 23 January 2006).
3. Reuters, 31 July 2006.
4. Half of the 1.2 million Iraqi Christians (out of a population of 27 million) who lived in Iraq have left the country since the start of the occupation (Catholic News Services, 3 August 2006).
5. See in IraqSolidaridad: Pedro Rojo and Carlos Varea: "Is Iran playing at 'resistance' in Basra?" [Está jugando Irán a la 'resistencia' en Basora?].
6. Cordesman A.H., and Sullivan W.D.: "Iraqi Force Development in 2006", CSIS, 19 July, 2006. See also in IraqSolidaridad: Mohamed Abu Nasser: "The other Iraq war. The confrontation between Britain and Iran in the south of the country" ["La otra guerra de Iraq. La confrontacion entre Reino Unido e Irán en el sur del país"].
7. Cockburn P. "Civil war won't end until troops leave Iraq", The Independent, 26 July 2006.
8. Reuters, 2 August 2006.
9. Cordesman A.H., and Sullivan W.D.: "Iraqi Force Development in 2006", CSIS, 19 July, (p. 57).
10. Associated Press, 30 July, and al-Jazeera, 5 August 2006. Previously there were 9,000 US troops in Baghdad, in addition to 8,500 soldiers of the new Iraqi army (the National Guard) and 34,000 police officers (Los Angeles Times, 27 July 2006).
11. Cordesman A.H., and Sullivan W.D.: "Iraqi Force Development in 2006", CSIS, 19 July 2006. See also in IraqSolidaridad: Mohamed Abu Nasser: "The other Iraq war. The confrontation between the United Kingdom and Iran in the south of the country" ["La otra guerra de Iraq. La confrontación entre Reino Unido e Iran en el sur del país"].
12. AFP, 27 July 2006.
13. Los Angeles Times, 27 July 2006.
14. See in IraqSolidaridad: Carlos Varea: "Abandoning the terrain - the Basra airport attacked with missiles" / "The Marine Corps surrounds Rutba with a wall of sand 17 kilometres long" / Doug Lorimer: "US escalates air attacks on Iraqi towns." At least 18 cities were attacked in 2005 by US aeroplanes. [Carlos Varea "Abandonando el terreno - Atacado con misiles el aeropuerto de Basora" | "El Cuerpo de Marines cerca Rutba con un muro de arena de 17 kilometros" | Doug Lorimer: "EEUU incrementa los bombardeos contra ciudades iraquís. Al menos 18 ciudades fueron atacadas en 2005 por aviones estadounidenses"].

16. McClatchy Newspapers, 27 July 2006.
17. See in IraqSolidaridad: Pedro Rojo: "The summary execution of al-Zarqawi and his real role in Iraq" [Pedro Rojo: La ejecución sumaria de al-Zarqaui y su papel real en Iraq"]
18. Cordesman A.H., and Sullivan W.D.: Iraqi Force Development in 2006, CSIS, 19 July 2006.
19. Al-Qaeda will be focusing the operations of its cells - according to internal documents, now very disorganised - in the area of Baghdad and by means of car bombs and suicide attacks against the Iraqi security agencies and the Shiite community, abandoning the cities of the west and north of the country. In these zones there have been frequent clashes between the resistance and the Al-Qaeda network in Iraq in recent months. See in IraqSolidaridad: Pedro Rojo: "Intersection of declarations among al-Zarqawi, the occupiers, and the resistance" [Pedro Rojo: "Cruce de declaraciones entre al-Zarqaui, los ocupantes y la resistencia"].
20. In this attack at least 58 people were murdered by armed men wearing National Guard uniforms. A new group, little known until now, the "Defenders of the Sunni People", claimed responsibility for the massacre as a reprisal for another one earlier, conducted by Shiite paramilitaries in a Baghdad neighbourhood on 9 July. This group had announced itself with a car bomb attack carried out in a market in Medina al-Sadr, in Baghdad, on 1 July, which caused the deaths of at least 62 people (Al-Jazeera, 1 July 2006).
21. Los Angeles Times, 7 May 2006, reported in Cordesman A.H., and Sullivan W.D.: Iraqi Force Development in 2006, CSIS, 19 July 2006.
22. See in IraqSolidaridad: Kadhem al-Attabi: "6,000 victims of the 'death squads' in the last five months in Baghdad. The Baghdad central morgue receives from 35 to 50 corpses a day" ["6.000 víctimas de 'Escuadrones de la muerte' en los últimos cinco meses en Bagdad. La morgue central de Bagdad recibe al dia de 35 a 50 cadáveres"].
23. Human Rights Report by the United Nations Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for the period from 1 May to 30 June.
24. See in IraqSolidaridad: " 'El Salvador option' for Iraq - the Pentagon is thinking about sending special forces in order to create Iraqi death squads" / Stephen Zunes: "The US role in Iraq's sectarian violence." More than 14,000 Iraqis detained by the occupiers. UN acknowledges the involvement of the 'death squads' in the new Iraqi security agencies" / Dirk Adriaensens: "Iraqi professors in the death zone: the need for an independent international investigation - at least 224 medical workers have been murdered since the start of the occupation" / "Who is behind the 'death squads'? Special units linked to the occupiers accelerate the breakup of Iraq" [" 'Opción El Salvador' para Iraq - El Pentágono estudia enviar fuerzas especiales para la creación de Escuadrones de la muerte iraquis" | Stephen Zunes: "La responsabilidad de EEUU en la violencia sectaria de Iraq - Más de 14.000 iraquís detenidos por los ocupantes. NNUU reconoce la vinculacion de los 'escuadrones de la muerte' a los nuevos aparatos de seguridad iraquís" | Dirk Adriaensens: "Profesores iraquís en zona de muerte: La necesidad de una investigación internacional independiente - Al menos 224 sanitarios han sido asesinados desde el inicio de la ocupación" | "Quiénes están detrás de los 'Escuadrones de la muerte'? Unidades especiales vinculadas a los ocupantes alientan la ruptura de Iraq"].
25. See in IraqSolidaridad: Carlos Varea: "Iraq, State of Terror. 146,000 Iraqis integrated into private armies without any control - 461 intellectuals threatened with death on a new black list" [Carlos Varea: Iraq, Estado de terror. 146.000 iraquís integran ejércitos privados sin control alguno - Amenazados de muerte 461 intelectuales en una nueva lista negra].
26. See in IraqSolidaridad: Mahan Abedin: "Badr, Iran, and the new Iraqi security agencies" ["Badr, Irán y los nuevos cuerpos de seguridad iraquís"].
27. See in IraqSolidaridad: "Declaration of the office of Imam al-Jalisi concerning the indiscriminate attacks in Baghdad and the attack on Tal Afar" [Declaración de la oficina del imám al-Jalisi sobre los atentados indiscriminados de Bagdad y el ataque a Tal Afar"] and Andrew Buncombe and Patrick Cockburn: "Thousands of people have been murdered in recent months by the 'death squads' ["Miles de personas han sido asesinadas en los últimos meses por los 'Escuadrones de la muerte'"].
28. See in IraqSolidaridad: Carlos Varea: "Al-Sadr paramilitaries murdered the lawyer al-Obeidi. Four lawyers defending the leaders of the ousted government have been murdered" and Dan Murphy; "Sadr's militia tightens grip on healthcare" ["Paramilitares de as-Sader asesinaron al abogado al-Obeidi. Cuatro abogados defensores de dirigentes del depuesto gobierno han sido asesinados" y Dan Murphi: "La milicia de as-Sader afianza su dominio sobre la Sanidad"]. Information concerning the al-Sadr movement can be read in English in the Report of the International Crisis Group (ICG).
29. Cordesman A.H., and Sullivan W.D.: Iraqi Force Development in 2006, CSIS, 19 July 2006.
30. Likewise the aggression against certain groups, for example, women who do not strictly follow supposed Koranic precepts (including the use of mobile phones or driving cars), or the murder of homosexuals (on this topic, see the most recent UNAMI Human Rights Report already referred to) are attributed to the al-Sadr militia. Correctly identifying those who were eradicating them in Iraq, in late July the Palestinian community in that country asked Hezbollah to intercede with Iran so that the militias of the Badr Organisation and the Mahdi Army would stop the attacks and assassinations committed against them since the beginning of the occupation. (, 29 July 2006). Everything seems to indicate (and a communiqué from the Ba'ath Party has confirmed this - in English in, that the al-Sadr paramilitaries assassinated al-Obeidi, the lawyer of the group of imprisoned Iraqi leaders, last 21 June (see in IraqSolidaridad: Carlos Varea: "Al-Sadr paramilitaries murdered the lawyer al-Obeidi. Four lawyers defending the leaders of the ousted government have been murdered" ["Paramilitares de as-Sader asesinaron al abogado al-Obeidi. Cuatro abogados defensores de dirigentes del depuesto gobierno han sido asesinados"].
31. See in IraqSolidaridad: Carlos Varea: "New government in Iraq: unstable sectarian distribution - the new government's list" and "New turn of the screw in the entrenchment of sectarianism in the country: Al-Maliki, new prime minister of Iraq" ["Nuevo gobierno en Iraq: inestable reparto sectario - La lista del nuevo gobierno" y "Nueva vuelta de tuerca en el afianzamiento del sectarismo en el país: Al-Maliki, nuevo primer ministro de Iraq"]
32. See in IraqSolidaridad: Carlos Varea: "The resistance rejects al-Maliki's plan for 'national reconciliation'. The anti-occupation forces repeat that they will negotiate with the occupiers only their unconditional withdrawal" and "A sector of the Islamist resistance offers to negotiate with the US their participation in the process. The Iraqi National Foundation Congress announces that it will not participate in the December elections" ["La resistencia rechaza el plan de 'reconciliación nacional' de al-Maliki'. Las organizaciones anti-ocupación reiteran que sólo negociaran con los ocupantes su retirada incondicional" y "Un sector de la resistencia islamista ofrece negociar con EEUU su participación en el proceso. El Congreso Fundacional Nacional Iraquí anuncia que no participará en las elecciones de diciembre"].
33. See in IraqSolidaridad: Abdul Ilah al-Bayati: "Al-Maliki's offer: To choose the lesser evil. The 'reconciliation plan' basically serves the interests of the US" ["La oferta de al-Maliki: Elegir el mal menor. El 'plan de reconciliación' responde esencialmente a los intereses de EEUU"].
34. Al-Jazeera, 25 July 2006.
35. Associated Press, 30 July 2006; al-Jazeera, 7 August, and AFP, 8 August 2006.
36. Al-Quds al-Arabi, 1 August 2006.
37. The Iraqi Shiite confessional political formations of the new authorities adhere completely to the dogma of capitalism. See in IraqSolidaridad: "How much oil has Iraq exported? (BTC News) - The vice-president of Iraq marks the new authorities' commitment to the liberalisation of the economy" and Kevin Zeese: "The US corporations take possession of the Iraqi economy-The new minister of petroleum announces the opening of the sector to foreign companies" ["Cuánto petróleo ha exportado Iraq? (BTC News) - El vicepresidente de Iraq marca el compromiso de las nuevas autoridades con la liberalización de la economía" y Kevin Zeese: Las corporaciones de EEUU se apoderan de la economía iraquí- El nuevo ministro de Petróleo anuncia la apertura del sector a las compañías extranjeras"]. On the ways that foreign capital enters the sector in Kurdistan, read: Miriam Amie: "Crude designs. US sees Iraqi oil production choked for years - The Norwegian company DNO drills in three new oil fields of Kurdistan" ["Crudos propósitos. EEUU considera que la producción de petróleo iraquí permanecerá estrangulada durante años - La compañía noruega 'DNO' perfora en tres nuevos campos petrolíferos del Kurdistán"]
38. Associated Press, 30 July 2006.
39. Associated Press, 4 August 2006.
40. Reid R.H., "Firebrand Cleric More Cautious," Associated Press, 7 August 2006.

Carlos Varea is the coordinator of the Spanish National Campaign against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (Campaña Estatal contra la Ocupación y por la Soberanía de Iraq (CEOSI),

Translated by Agatha Haun and revised by James Hollander, Tlaxcala