In an article by the reliable Marc Santora euphemistically entitled, "Missteps by Iraqi Forces in Battle Raise Questions", he lays a few tidbits out for us:
- The civil war in Iraq isn't just Sunni vs. Shiite-- it's Shiite vs. Shiite
- The militias-- all of them-- are better-equipped than the government
- When the government saw a few hundred messianic Shiites gathering at a farm near the holy city of Najaf, they thought they were there to pray
Some choice portions of his article:
The battle also brought into focus the reality that some of the power struggles in Iraq
are among Shiites, not just between Shiites and Sunnis. The Soldiers of
Heaven is considered to be at least partly or wholly run by Shiites.
the troubling questions raised is how hundreds of armed men were able
to set up such an elaborate encampment, which Iraqi officials said
included tunnels, trenches and a series of blockades, only 10 miles
northeast of Najaf. After the fight was over, Iraqi officials said they
discovered at least two antiaircraft weapons as well as 40 heavy
Government officials were quick to point the finger at Al Qaeda,
alleging that it provided financing for the group. But numerous Shiite
clerics, seeking anonymity for fear of contradicting the government,
said it was highly unlikely that Al Qaeda, a Sunni group, would link up
with a Shiite messianic group.
God bless us all.