Politics by other means
Iraq the Model has some observations about the raid in which US and Iraqi troops are said to have massacred worshippers in a mosque.
Anyway, footage from the scene shows burned vehicles outside the husseiniya, empty smoke grenades and inside the place there were empty shells of BKC machine gun (the main gun mounted on most of the Iraqi army vehicles) the BKC is not a one-GI carried gun but is rather used as a supportive-fire kind of weaponry and if soldiers were to execute armless people this would not be their gun of choice because AK-47s or pistols could do the job with less noise and are much easier to carry and it makes more sense to think that this weapon was fired by the people who were hiding inside the husseiniya especially that this gun is abundant at the arsenals of militias. Also the use of smoke grenades means the assault team was expecting-and likely encountered-resistance from inside the target building. There's also the burned vehicles on the street which indicate there was gunfire coming from inside the building because the MNF report says that Iraqi soldiers were fired at "after they entered their objective" and it makes no sense at all to fire at the street behind you when you're under fire from the building you are already inside.
However, the best evidence that proves that members of Mehdi army were inside the building came from a prominent Sdarist parliamentarian and spokesman of the Sdar trend; Baha' al-Aaraji told al-Hurra this evening that "worshippers from inside the besieged husseiniya talked to us in person on the phone and asked for help…". So I wonder why would 'innocent ordinary worshippers' have the personal phone numbers of parliament members and Sadr office officials?!!
Bill Roggio believes we have to understand the raid and its denunciations within the context of Iraqi politics.
The raid on Sadr's milita should not be viewed as an isolated event, but as part of the continuing struggle to form the Iraqi government. The issue of the militias, and particularly Sadr's Mahdi Army, as well as Sadr's influence in the government, has come to a head. Last week, we discussed the creation of the Security Council, as well as a potential split between SCIRI and the United Iraqi Alliance over the selection of Jaafari as prime minister:
Everybody has to get patted down before entering the government. Probably one of the reasons the negotiations to form a government are taking so long is that nobody trusts anybody to keep their guns out of the political arena. In some strange way these raids are part of the democratic process. Emphasis on strange.