Militia’s R Us (2007): As the blackwater trial finally concludes with murder convictions, this historic report investigates the actions of militias during the Iraq war.
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Your enemies’ militias may be terrorists and torturers. But your own are protectors and providers. In Iraq militias, like the infamous Mehdi army, are assuming many of the functions of normal government.
For the Shias of Sadr City in Baghdad, the Iranian backed Mehdi army is indispensable; “they help us, bring us bread.” With Iraq’s “infrastructure in bad shape each neighbourhood works for itself”, explains one official, and this goes for Sunni areas as well. Organised along explicitly religious lines, these militias may comprise “local men protecting their streets” but they are also armed and aggressive. Ultimately they are responsible for the escalation of sectarian terror.
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