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Factions arising in Iraq
Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2003

BOSTON ( -- The war in Iraq is now shifting phases into one of post-invasion factionalism featuring various forces of varying degrees of power, legitimacy, and influence arising almost spontaneously in different parts of the country.

Once such militia -- backed by American special forces -- began forcefully exerting itself in Hay Al Ansar this past week. The Iraqi Coalition of National Unity (ICNU), apparently an unknown group, has been accused of threatening and beating civilians and widespread looting by residents of the town.

The Financial Times reported that the "[ICNU], which appeared in the city last week riding on U.S. special forces vehicles, has taken to looting and terrorizing their neighborhood with impunity, according to most residents. U.S. special forces said they were looking into the complaints, which had been passed to them by U.S. military sources."

Another incident occurred over the weekend when a militia several thousand strong took control of the town of Amara. Reuters reported that CIA operatives in the region informed the group's leader, Abu Hatem, that the U.S. was prepared to bomb the town if he did not relinquish his control immediately.

Such incidents are an indication of what U.S. forces throughout Iraq will be facing in the weeks and months to come if a smooth transition is not made by Washington. correspondent Matthew Riemer drafted this report.

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