IRAQ: Shiite Militias Increase Attacks on US Troops
Shiite militias backed by Iran have ramped up attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, making June the deadliest month in two years for American forces. The militiamen's goal is to prevent the U.S. military from extending its presence in the country past the end of this year.
Three separate militias have been involved in the attacks, particularly a small but deadly group known as the Hezbollah Brigades, believed to be funded and trained by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard and its special operations wing, the Quds Force.
The militia attacks — mainly in the Shiite heartland in southern Iraq — raise the prospect of increased violence against Americans if a residual U.S. force remains in the country past 2011, a possibility being considered by the Baghdad government to help maintain a still fragile security.
They also point to the persistent efforts by Shiite-majority Iran, the United States' top regional rival, to influence Iraq after the Americans' exit. The Associated Press (30 June 2011)