Shiite Death Squads

SHIITE DEATH SQUADS?….It looks like everyone is now reporting that Iraq’s security forces have been heavily infiltrated by Shiite “death squads” that are carrying out hundreds of executions in predominantly Sunni neighborhoods. The New York Times version of this story is here. A longer and more detailed Los Angeles Times story is here. Here’s an excerpt from the LAT story by Solomon Moore:

An Aug. 18 police operations report addressed to Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, who has ties to the [Shiite] Badr militia, listed the names of 14 Sunni Arab men arrested during a predawn sweep in the Baghdad neighborhood of Iskaan.

Six weeks later, their bodies were discovered near the Iranian border, badly decomposed. All of the corpses showed signs of torture, and each still wore handcuffs and had been shot three times in the back of the head, Baghdad morgue officials said.

A Western diplomat in Baghdad who spoke on condition of anonymity said that “we hear repeated stories” of police raids on houses and indiscriminate arrests of Iraqi civilians ? many of them Sunni Arab Muslims.

“And they disappear, but the bodies show up maybe two or three governorates away,” the diplomat said.

As you may recall, Knight Ridder’s Tom Lasseter reported the same thing over a month ago, suggesting that crack units within the Iraqi army have essentially become Shiite militias that take orders from local Shiite clerics. In other words, “infiltrated” probably isn’t really the right word. It’s been the plan all along.