"The militants believe that the Shi'ite officials are from the Badr militia, who are trained and strongly directed by Iran, with of course the knowledge of the Americans," said a Sahwa leader, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Badr militia was based in Iran for 20 years during the rule of Saddam Hussein. It comprises largely Iraqi exiles, refugees and defectors who fought alongside Iran during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. The US allowed the militia to return to Iraq after the invasion of 2003.
The Iranian touch has come in all sorts of ways.
"The militants [now Sahwa members] kept blocking the import of goods from Iran," Hasan Qader, a shopkeeper in Baquba told Inter Press Service (IPS). "They shot the shopkeepers who dealt with them. So it was rare to see Iranian chocolate or anything else. With the partial government control by the Shi'ites, especially in the last six months, shopkeepers are now allowed to deal in Iranian goods.">>>
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