Which Militia?

WHICH MILITIA?….Michael Gordon has a piece in the New York Times today passing along charges from (anonymous) American sources that (a) Hezbollah is in Iran training Iraqi militia fighters and (b) Iran is providing weapons to these militias. Are these charges true? Who knows. Gordon, unfortunately, has a longstanding reputation for repeating official U.S. narratives almost verbatim, so all we really know is that this is something the military and the Bush administration want us to believe. Depending on your temperament, you can read Abu Muqawama for a restrained takedown of Gordon’s piece or Glenn Greenwald for the more fire-breathing version.

However, Laura Rozen points out something that also tickled my brain cells when I first read Gordon’s article. Picking up on a comment at Abu Muqawama, she notes that “the Gordon piece strikingly doesn’t tell us WHICH militia the captured Shiite militants who had trained in Iran belonged to.” That’s true. Here are the descriptions scattered throughout Gordon’s piece:

Iraqi militia fighters….four Shiite militia members….Iraqi militia fighters….Iranian assistance to the militias….militia groups….Iraqi militias….small groups of Iraqi Shiite militants….other groups of Iraqi militants….Shiite militias.

That’s nine separate references, all of them purposefully vague. We’re obviously meant to believe that Iran is exclusively training and supplying Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, not the Badr militia associated with the Iraqi government, but if that’s the case then why not just say so? There hardly seems to be any reason to leave this detail out unless it’s not actually true.