Friday, June 01, 2007

Iraqi Army or Mahdi Army?

Video Shows Iraqi Soldiers Covering Mahdi Army in Attack on Sunni area

The Haqq Agency posted a video of an alleged joint operation between an Iraqi Army unit and the Mahdi Army at the border of the predominately Sunni district of Fadhil in central Baghdad. The video clearly shows a member of the army unit wandering around and using his cell phone to film Iraqi soldiers and gunmen in plainclothes, who he refers to as members of Jaish Al-Imam (the army of the imam). The blurry video, which is dated May 10, 2007, is possibly filmed at the neighboring Shi’ite-majority Abu Saifain district, southeast of Fadhil.

The cameraman addresses the soldiers by their first names (Basim, Maitham, Azhar, Hameed), and he is apparently familiar with the militiamen, as they smile back at him while they reload their weapons in preparation for the assault on Fadhil. He repeatedly shouts a Shi’ite slogan, “Ali wiyak, Ali,” which means “May Ali be with you,” in reference to the first Shi’ite imam Ali bin Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of the prophet Mohammed, as the gunmen and militiamen spray the street with bullets. In another instance, he shouts “Ali yinusrak ‘ala ahl al Fadhil, al manaweech,” meaning “May Ali grant you victory over the residents of Al-Fadhil, the bastards.”