June 26, 2014
Old U.S. Enemy Could Plunge Iraq into Civil War
Journalist Matthew Cox
Muqtada al-Ṣadr and his Shia militia engaged in ferocious fighting with American forces during the Iraq War. Now, the Shiite strong man is back in the spotlight and threatening to escalate tensions between the Sunni and Shia populations as Iraq struggles to thwart an insurgency of Sunni fighters, experts say.
Militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant have spilled over the Syrian border into Iraq and captured several northern and western cities -- along with the attention of the rest of the world -- and now threaten to topple Baghdad.
The Iraqi Army remains in disarray, awaiting assistance from the U.S. in the form of military advisors. About 90 special operations troops have arrived in Baghdad, where they will join some 40 others attached to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to establish assessment teams and a joint operations center with Iraqi forces, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said June 24.