The Associated Press: Basra's `dark ages' lifting as hard-line grip weakens
Basra's `dark ages' lifting as hard-line grip weakens By SAMEER N. YACOUB – 2 hours ago BAGHDAD (AP) — CD shops sell love songs again. Some women emerge from their homes without veils, and alcohol sellers are coming out of hiding in the southern city of Basra — where religious vigilantes have long enforced strict Islamic codes. The changes in recent weeks mark a surprising show of government sway — at least for now — after an Iraqi-led military crackdown that was plagued by desertions, ragged planning and ended in a virtual stalemate with Shiite militias in Iraq's second-largest city. But it's unclear whether the new tone in parts of Basra represents a permanent tilt toward the Iraqi government or just a temporary retreat of Shiite hard-liners challenging the current Baghdad leadership.
A good sign ... one that I hope will stick.
Like any group of thungs, the militia's make up only a very small percentage of the populace. But, of course, with weapons and training (from Iran) they can intimidate and oppress a much larger population.
Something will eventually have to be done about them... hopefully, not by us.