Iraq - Shi'ite power struggle, Death Squads
As part of what has been regarded a Shi'ite power struggle, an Iranian-sponsored insurgent has been leading death squads in nightly orgies of torture and killing throughout Baghdad. The effort by Abu Dera has been so brutal that even the most hardened of Shi'ite militia leaders have ordered him to stop.
But Abu Dera hasn't, and he is believed to be largely responsible for the death of thousands of Sunnis every month in the Baghdad area. The method is the same: abduction, torture and a bullet to the head. Baghdad's morgues are overflowing with corpses.What's wrong with this picture? Sadr is the moderate alternative to some new more radical killer? Has the baseline shifted so far that someone who should have been dead immediately after Khoei was murdered is now HELPING? Anyone think he has seen the light? What are we doing? Has mission creep among a radicalized nation in an incipient civil war warped the entire thing?
"Abu Dera is the new Shi'ite hero," a U.S. official said. "He fights blood with more blood."
Abu Dera has been based in the Shi'ite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad. Sadr City is not a neighborhood. It contains 2 million residents is the leading source of fire against U.S. troops in the Baghdad area. Not long ago, Abu Dera was a member of the Al Mahdi Army, the Iranian-sponsored militia headed by Moqtada Sadr. But Sadr has gone mainstream and his followers are ministers in the government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki.