February 23, 2007

IRAQ: ‘Soldiers of Heaven’ Scare Wagged the Dog?

When the governor of Najaf called on U.S. air support for an Iraqi Army attack on a heavily fortified compound, the target was originally described as an al Qaeda-affiliated Sunni group — and then later a Shia doomsday cult — that sought to massacre Shia imams and pilgrims during a religious festival.

But the Institute for War & Peace Reporting now cites “security officials” who claim no attack on imams and pilgrims was planned, and quotes Najaf’s deputy governor as stating that regional Shia leaders simply wanted to eliminate a rival militant Shia sect.

“Shia rivalry sparked battle of Zarqa”
Institute for War & Peace Reporting, February 15, 2007

“Rebel Muslims longed for doomsday / ‘Heaven’s Army’ battled near Najaf with high-tech arms”
Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2007

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