Iraq: August 20, 2004


After going back and forth, Muqtada al Sadr now says he will not surrender the Imam Ali shrine and disarm his militia. But there was heavy fighting around the shrine overnight, and it appears that the government is going to send (Iraqi) troops to retake the shrine complex. Fighting also continues in Fallujah, and it appears that if the government's shock troops can take care of the Sadr militia, Fallujah and it's Sunni Arab militias are next. The Sunni Arab militias are more numerous, and better organized, but once they are defeated, the most numerous, difficult, and heavily armed groups; the Kurds.  

The lack of well trained officers had limited the number of reliable Iraqi army and police units. Saddam Hussiens officers are generally not allowed to serve in the current Iraqi forces, mainly because these guys are suspected of being loyal to various Sunni Arab rebel groups. Sunni Arabs have dominated the officer corps for decades. Many of the new Shia officers still feel primary loyalty to tribal or religious leaders. 


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