"Muhammad, Haider, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn!" shouted a group of dancing soldiers, bellowing the names of the prophet and other long-dead Islamic icons revered by Shiite Muslims.
A second later, the name of a living Shiite figure came out of the din. "Moqtada! Moqtada!" one soldier exclaimed, invoking the name of Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric and leader of the Mahdi Army militia that American officials blame for many of the worst acts of violence in Baghdad.
Standing quietly in the crowd were four U.S. Army officers, there to represent the team of American soldiers advising the Iraqis. "Sounds like the Mahdi militia is in the tent," said their interpreter, Mohammed Noshi." WAPO
86 Years. 86 years. Let’s see… That would mean that the "New" Iraqi Army calculates its origin as having occurred in 1920. Hmmm.
That would mean that this Iraqi Army thinks itself a continuation of all the other, earlier versions of the Iraqi National Army. That means that these Iraqi soldiers think that Saddam’s Army is their ancestor, that the Hashemite king’s army is their ancestral force. I guess that means that 2003 wasn’t "the year zero" after all. I guess that means that the army that was said by the CPA not to exist any longer still has a ghostly presence abroad in the land.
1920. That was the year in which the British occupation government began to form a specifically Iraqi army. In much the same way that the British created local forces in all the former Ottoman lands, the new formations were built on a foundation of former Ottoman Army officers of local birth and culture. these professional soldiers were looking for employment after the disappearance of the Empire, and were eager to take up military service again. They brought with them the traditions and schooling of that other, disbanded, army. These were traditions developed throughout the 19th Century under first French and later German instructors and advisers.
Was this new army in Iraq, a Sunni Army. Exile propaganda, neocon propaganda and "Information Operations" have portrayed it as such, implying that the only Shia Arab soldiers in the now 86 year old Iraqi Army were slave-like conscripts. That was never true. If it were true, these Shia soldiers would not be celebrating the 86th Birthday of their army. Moqtada’s Army soon. pl