US, Shia militias face common enemy - WSMV Channel 4

US, Shia militias face common enemy

Posted: Updated:
Members of Shia militias still see America as the enemy despite being on the same side for now against the advancing Sunni militant group ISIS. (Source: CNN) Members of Shia militias still see America as the enemy despite being on the same side for now against the advancing Sunni militant group ISIS. (Source: CNN)
  • InternationalMore>>

  • Battle for key southeast coast heats up in Ukraine

    Battle for key southeast coast heats up in Ukraine

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 12:58 PM EDT2014-08-27 16:58:08 GMT
    A town in east Ukraine has come under shellfire amid fears that pro-Russian rebels in the region are advancing on government-held areas.More >>
    The battle for Ukraine's strategic coastline heated up Wednesday as a local mayor reported that pro-Russian rebel forces entered a key town in southeast Ukraine after three days of heavy shelling.More >>
  • AP ANALYSIS: A grim stalemate at war's end in Gaza

    AP ANALYSIS: A grim stalemate at war's end in Gaza

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 12:50 PM EDT2014-08-27 16:50:01 GMT
    The third Gaza War in six years appears to have ended in another sort of tie, with both Israel and Hamas claiming the upper hand. Their questionable achievements have come at a big price, especially to...More >>
    The third Gaza War in six years appears to have ended in another sort of tie, with both Israel and Hamas claiming the upper hand. Their questionable achievements have come at a big price, especially to long-suffering...More >>
  • Citing Ebola, Air France suspends flights

    Citing Ebola, Air France suspends flights

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-08-27 16:18:24 GMT
    France's government is asking Air France to suspend flights to the largest city in Sierra Leone in response to the Ebola epidemic in the region that has killed more than 1,400 people.More >>
    France on Wednesday recommended that its citizens leave the African countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia because of the outbreak of Ebola there, and Air France temporarily suspended its three flights a week to Sierra Leone.More >>

BAGHDAD (CNN) - As ISIS advances toward Baghdad, a traditionally anti-American group of fighters may find themselves aligning with U.S. forces to fight a common enemy.

The Mahdi army is on the move.

They've come together to answer the call of their leader, Shia Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. For years he and his army fought pitched battles against American soldiers. On Thursday as the threat from the Sunni extremist group ISIS grows they could find themselves unlikely allies.

A neighborhood on the outskirts of Baghdad is a Shia stronghold, as is much of the Iraqi capital.

On a wall, Moqtada al-Sadr looks down. On the television anti-U.S. films play. One of the commanders says he's just returned from fighting ISIS in Syria alongside another U.S. foe, Hizbullah, along with what are believed to be thousands of other Iraqi Shias.

He's asked that his identity be concealed.

"I fought alongside Iraqi Hizbullah, the Syrian army and Lebanese Hizbullah. And I'm willing to go back. I'll fight here. I'll fight there and anywhere to defend the Shia and what is sacred to us. We're just waiting for our matching orders and at any time we'll emerge. At any place," he said.

There are pictures he took when he was fighting in Syria.

And there is video he says the ISIS fighters took of him and his unit coming under attack in Aleppo, Syria. He and his unit found a memory stick with it - and other videos - on the body of an ISIS militant.

Mahdi army fighter Ali Jaffar was detained by U.S. forces for six months in Najaf during the war. For him the U.S. will always be the enemy.

"The Americans are not here for the sake of the Iraqis. The Americans are here because they have national security interests," he said.

But he also can't deny the reality that faces his country.

"As soon as the order is given to fight we are ready to sacrifice our blood and even our children. Even him, my child, I'm willing to sacrifice him for the nation," he said while sitting next to his son.

As ISIS continues on their fight toward the country's capital, the Mahdi army await al-Sadr's orders. If he says fight they will. Regardless of who fights alongside them, if they want to protect what they hold dear, the enemy of their enemy will have to become a friend, at least for now.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

  • US, Shia militias face common enemyMore>>

  • About 500 US troops now in Iraq

    About 500 US troops now in Iraq

    Friday, June 27 2014 5:04 AM EDT2014-06-27 09:04:02 GMT
    Iraqi forces are preparing to defend Baghdad and are in a fight with ISIS for a critical dam 170 miles from the capital.More >>
    Iraqi forces are preparing to defend Baghdad and are in a fight with ISIS for a critical dam 170 miles from the capital. More >>
Powered by WorldNow
WSMV
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.