A Vicious Monster Rises in Iraq's Sectarian War - "The Shia Zarqawi"

[Telegraph-UK] Colin Freeman and Aqeel Hussein - Savage new warlords are battling for power in Iraq and the country is starting to splinter. Less than six months after an American airstrike ended Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's campaign of Sunni terror, an equally brutal fanatic has emerged on the Shia side. Abu Deraa's trademark method of killing is a drill through the skull rather than a sword to the neck. In the past year, he and his followers have murdered thousands of Sunnis, their victims' bodies dumped in road craters left by al-Qaeda car bombs. Iraq's Shia-dominated government has shown a marked reluctance to sanction the kind of large-scale operation necessary to arrest him in his stronghold of Sadr City in east Baghdad. Increasingly, men such as Abu Deraa appear to operate beyond anyone's control. He is among at least 20 former Mehdi Army commanders who are pursuing their own agendas. The former commander, Moqtada al Sadr, may be a thug himself, but at least he represented a single, identifiable authority. If dozens of freelance players emerge alongside him, negotiation becomes impossible.

2006-11-17 01:00:00

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