Iraqi Shias Condemn Iran for violence, interferrence

If nothing else, the petition signed by 300,000 Shias in southern Iraq proves that Iraqi Shias are not a monolithic bloc and that there is a substantial body of support for a free and independent Iraq:

"The Iranians, in fact, have taken over all of south Iraq," said a senior tribal leader from the south who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. "Their influence is everywhere."

The unusually organized Iraqi rebuke illustrates the divisions that Iran has provoked among Iraq's majority Shiites. The prime minister and major political blocs are closely tied to Iran, but the petition organizers said many citizens are fiercely opposed to Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs. Several sheiks leading the campaign traveled to the capital from the southern province of Diwaniyah and showed The Washington Post and other news organizations an electronic file filled with images of signatures they said endorsed the petition.

Their effort is being supported by the People's Mujaheddin Organization of Iran, or Mujaheddin-e Khalq, an Iranian opposition group that is listed by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization but that nonetheless enjoys U.S. military protection in Iraq.

The petition, which the organizers said was signed by 600 sheiks, calls on the United Nations to send a delegation to investigate what it termed crimes committed by Iran and its proxies in southern Iraq.
Southern Iraq is temporarily quiescent thanks to a promise by radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr not to precipitate conflict between his militia, The Mahdi Army, and the military arm of the largest political party in Iraq, the Badr Organization.

It is known that both groups have ties with Iran but the Badr Organization has been distancing themselves from Tehran since the American invasion. It is believed that the Mahdi Army receives weapons and training from the Revolutionary Guards who have infiltrated the south of Iraq and are wielding influence by intimidation throughout much of the region. 

The United Nations is not going to help. Only the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki can take on al-Sadr and hold Iran accountable for their meddling in Iraqi affairs.

Unfortunately, the Iraqi prime minister has demonstrated little interest in confronting the Iranians over their support for al-Sadr nor has he really demonstrated that he could make them stop even if he wanted them to.

It is the next greatest challenge for the US military and the Iraqi government; stop the Iranians from trying to influence what goes on in Iraq.
If nothing else, the petition signed by 300,000 Shias in southern Iraq proves that Iraqi Shias are not a monolithic bloc and that there is a substantial body of support for a free and independent Iraq:

"The Iranians, in fact, have taken over all of south Iraq," said a senior tribal leader from the south who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. "Their influence is everywhere."

The unusually organized Iraqi rebuke illustrates the divisions that Iran has provoked among Iraq's majority Shiites. The prime minister and major political blocs are closely tied to Iran, but the petition organizers said many citizens are fiercely opposed to Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs. Several sheiks leading the campaign traveled to the capital from the southern province of Diwaniyah and showed The Washington Post and other news organizations an electronic file filled with images of signatures they said endorsed the petition.

Their effort is being supported by the People's Mujaheddin Organization of Iran, or Mujaheddin-e Khalq, an Iranian opposition group that is listed by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization but that nonetheless enjoys U.S. military protection in Iraq.

The petition, which the organizers said was signed by 600 sheiks, calls on the United Nations to send a delegation to investigate what it termed crimes committed by Iran and its proxies in southern Iraq.
Southern Iraq is temporarily quiescent thanks to a promise by radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr not to precipitate conflict between his militia, The Mahdi Army, and the military arm of the largest political party in Iraq, the Badr Organization.

It is known that both groups have ties with Iran but the Badr Organization has been distancing themselves from Tehran since the American invasion. It is believed that the Mahdi Army receives weapons and training from the Revolutionary Guards who have infiltrated the south of Iraq and are wielding influence by intimidation throughout much of the region. 

The United Nations is not going to help. Only the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki can take on al-Sadr and hold Iran accountable for their meddling in Iraqi affairs.

Unfortunately, the Iraqi prime minister has demonstrated little interest in confronting the Iranians over their support for al-Sadr nor has he really demonstrated that he could make them stop even if he wanted them to.

It is the next greatest challenge for the US military and the Iraqi government; stop the Iranians from trying to influence what goes on in Iraq.