I highly recommendend that anyone concerned with the current situation in Iraq watch this important documentary on the Shiite death squads that have been empowered since the 2003 invasion (video here). The documentary explores how Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army operates directly out of the Iraqi Interior Ministry, condoned and supported by the Iraqi government. It describes, in often graphic detail, how the death squads are attempting to drive the minority Sunnis from Baghdad, using torture and murder as their chief weapons. Before you watch the documentary, I recommend that you read this 2005 Newsweek article regarding the so-called “Salvador option” in Iraq, that is, the United States’ backing of death squads that target Sunni insurgents and rebel leaders, ala the Reagain administration’s anti-insurgent policy in El Salvador in the 1980s. With many of the same players from the Reagan foreign policy team in key positions within the Bush administration, such as John Negroponte, the former ambassador to Honduras for Reagan and current Deputy Secretary of State (as well as former National Intelligence Director and ambassador to Iraq), it is impossible to watch the documentary without wondering if this strategy has not in fact been implemented, with disastrous and bloody results.
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