The conflict in Iraq may be moving along more sectarian lines judging by the new wave of violence striking the country, reports the New York Times (May 27).
Recent killings of Sunni Muslim Iraqis have fed fears that the now ruling Shiite Muslims are forming death squads, ultimately leading to civil war and a sectarian society. While Iraqis have prided themselves for their unity and lack of sectarian strife, in the last two years a “strengthened sense of religious and ethnic identity began to course through Iraqi Shiite and Kurdish communities, which had endured the most repression under [Sadam] Hussein,” writes Sabrina Tavernise.
In response to many Shiites climbing to positions of power, many Sunnis have become bitter and more open to hard-liner appeals. A sampling of opinions of Sunnis and Shiites at two mosques revealed that the former showed sharp anger at the Shiites, while the latter showed little anti-Sunni sentiment. Nevertheless, there are signs that that the Shiite militia of the 1980s in Iran, known as the Badr Brigade, is being revived. Although the group has been officially disbanded, it still exists and is used to gather intelligence.