Marxist insurgents emerge in Iraq?

An interesting report from IraqSlogger, May 15:

An unknown left-wing group calling itself the Iraqi Armed Revolutionary Resistance distributed leaflets in the Mid-Euphrates area around Najaf, Hilla and Karbala calling for “resistance against American, British and Zionist occupiers in order to liberate Iraq and form a free socialist, democratic alternative,” according to the Al-Badeel Al-Iraqi website. The group, which described itself as a “movement of Iraqi Communists and Marxists experienced in armed struggle, leftist Iraqi nationalists, and their supporters,” claimed responsibility for an attack against U.S. troops at the Khan Al-Nus area between Najaf and Karbla on Sunday. The leaflets, which carried a photo of Cuban Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, announced the launch of the resistance in the Mid-Euphrates and condemned the “puppet government, the so-called Council of Representatives, terrorist Salafis, militias, the Interior Ministry, Iraqi traitors who came on American tanks, the American and British mercenaries, contractors, and their servants from the South Lebanese Army.” Printed in both Arabic and English, the statement said car bombs and roadside bombs killing Iraqis are planted by the above groups to damage the reputation of Iraqi resistance groups.

But the very second paragraph indicates the group could already be embroiled in—or a shadow play of—the intercine jockeying of Shi’ite factions:

Al-Melaf Net reports that masked gunmen vandalized several murals carrying the portrait of SIIC leader Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim with black paint at Kut in the Wasit governorate, south of Iraq, during a curfew on Saturday. Eyewitnesses said only Hakim’s portraits were affected and that the masked gunmen left the portraits of top Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani and former SCRI leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir Al-Hakim untouched. Sources close to SIIC told Radio Sawa that they had instructions from their leadership to cover up the incident, which came hours after Hakim was re-elected as leader of SIIC, but they said a rival Shi’ite movement – possibly a reference to the Sadrist Movement – was behind it. A spokesman for the Sadrist Movement in the city denied any knowledge of the incident. Several SIIC branches in Kut had been attacked by unknown gunmen over the last few months.

See our last posts on Iraq, the insurgency and Shi’ite factionalism.