US 'prepares for a coup by arming Iraqi factions'
gulfnews.com | June 16, 2007
Baghdad: The attack that destroyed the two minarets of Al Askari Imams' shrine in Samarra, strengthened fears of Sunni-Shiite sectarian civil war.
The development is in sync with the rearmament run of different factions by Iran and the United States in Iraq, say Iraqi politicians.
Abu Hamza Al Kinani, a former figure in Moqtada Al Sadr's Mahdi Army, told Gulf News: "Iran's Revolutionary Guard used to provide weapons to the Mahdi Army and train its fighters how to trap cars and make roadside explosives."
He added: "The Mahdi Army benefited from former Iraqi army elements who joined it after the overthrow of Saddam Hussain's regime."
The Shiite bloc's charges against US troops escalated by accusing them of providing weapons to Iraqi Sunni groups. Some Iraqi politicians believe that the US stance aims to counter Iran's continuous arms supply to Shiite militias.
American-Iranian rivalry has instigated anxieties among Iraqis of a possible Sunni-Shiite civil war waged on behalf of the two powers in the country.
Iraq's political and security situation is witnessing uncertain times with the play of conflicting information keeping in mind the United States' September deadline for assessing Iraq's situation.
Awad Abdul Majeed, a political researcher at the Iraqi Strategic Studies Centre, told Gulf News: "The American armament policy depends on supplying the Iraqi Army with weapons, especially the military divisions under the wide and direct supervision of the US army.
"At the same time they are cautious about arming the Interior Ministry forces due to the infiltration of Shiite militias into the office."
"As for Americans equipping Sunni groups with weapons, these are merely Shiite accusations. Yet if things reached this extent, it only indicates that Americans are preparing for a coup to rearrange the Iraqi situation, besides launching a security campaign to eliminate Shiite militias and the Iranian influence in Iraq," Abdul Majeed added.
Iraqi officials announced that there will be a second round of American-Iranian talks in Baghdad, but reality seems different since the start of the first round of talks last May.
The US Army launched more than 40 air raids on the Shiite neighbourhood of Al Sadr to track the Mahdi Army elements. Eight Shiite cells with strong ties with the Iran's Revolutionary Guards were also busted recently.
The Americans accused them of smuggling weapons into Iraq, mostly for the Shiite militias in Al Sadr and Mahmoudiya districts.
Political observers in Karbala, Najaf, Nasseriya and Basra claimed that the American and the British armies are speeding up arming Shiite former Baathist and secular groups which are known for their hostility to Iran and its influence in southern Iraq.
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