Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Via The Strategist, this Guardian article which takes a very deep look at the intricacies of Basra. Definitely lends one to believe putting the shattered puzzle that is Iraq back together again is looking more and more like a Humpty-Dumpty effort.

A small piece of the article:

Competing forces

Several groups vie for power in Basra, Iraq's second largest city

· Mahdi army A loose alliance of Shia militiamen, about half of which are connected to Moqtada al-Sadr's office in the Shia holy city of Najaf. His men control the ports and customs as well as the customs police

· Fadhila party An anti-Iranian Shia militia organisation that controls the oil business in Basra, parts of the security forces and the ports and customs

· Badr brigade The armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Before the 2003 invasion it was based in Iran for 20 years

· Tribes There are at least 20 major tribes in the Basra area. Iraqis often feel the strongest allegiance to their tribe, above nationality. At least one influential tribe in the city runs its own smuggling business. They also support politicians in the city.