"In any case, it appears that the fighting had little to do with either the Sunni-led insurgency or the sectarian bloodletting between Shiites and Sunnis in the Baghdad area. More likely, the battle stemmed from rivalries within the Shiite community, which have led to armed clashes in the past in major southern cities.
Those internal tensions may increase if the Iraqi government bows to U.S. pressure and cracks down on Shiite militias." Reid
I guess I am just small minded but I don't find the "Ashoura" action in Kerbala to be inspiring. These are mainline Shia mourning the death of Hussein. Seems like there might be some other way to mourn, but, it IS their business.
The armed force of "heretical" Shia (mostly) who intended to interrupt the ceremonial in the Shia holy cities were "outside" the consensus of the majority of Shia.
"You can't tell the players without a score card.." Old saw, right? It surely applied to this situation. "Jund as-Sama'?" New to me and I know of a lot of these little (or large) "millenarian" Muslim groups. That's what Juan Cole calls them. That description works for me. If you go over to my other blog, "The Athenaeum" you will find an article that I recently wrote about varieties of Islamic belief and practice.
In that article you will find my view regarding the particular features of Islamic religion which make it a religion very prone to splitting into smaller and smaller consensus driven factions.
Now, I know that Judaism and Christianity (particularly Protestant Christianity) are also susceptible to such division. Nevertheless, my subject here is the easy "slide" into endless division in Islam which results in the creation of active and sometimes dangerous groups such as this one.
It was interesting yesterday to watch some of the pseudo-sophisticates "reading" the news on TV try to cope with the idea of Shia on Shia violence in the context of Ashoura:
- They have been "programmed" by now into reflexive statements that Islam is a "pacifist" religion. This does not fit that paradigm. Therefore, stupefaction results until a talking head intervenes.
- Typically, these people are not equipped to deal with idea systems that have a great deal of power, so instinct drives them to attribute motivation for such behavior to some other, secular, or economically determined cause.
Sad. They should go back to reporting the weather or sports.