US, Shia militias face common enemy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

US, Shia militias face common enemy

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)
  • Government shutdown endNational politicsMore>>

  • Aimed at China, Trump's tariffs are hitting closer to home

    Aimed at China, Trump's tariffs are hitting closer to home

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 12:55 AM EDT2018-04-24 04:55:52 GMT
    Tuesday, April 24 2018 4:56 AM EDT2018-04-24 08:56:26 GMT
    (AP Photo/Loren Elliott). Jose Mata grinds a steel pipe at the Borusan Mannesmann plant in Baytown, Texas, Monday, April 23, 2018. President Donald Trump's escalating dispute with China over trade and technology is threatening jobs and profits in worki...(AP Photo/Loren Elliott). Jose Mata grinds a steel pipe at the Borusan Mannesmann plant in Baytown, Texas, Monday, April 23, 2018. President Donald Trump's escalating dispute with China over trade and technology is threatening jobs and profits in worki...
    President Donald Trump's escalating dispute with China over trade and technology is threatening jobs and profits in working-class communities where his "America First" agenda hit home with American voters.More >>
    President Donald Trump's escalating dispute with China over trade and technology is threatening jobs and profits in working-class communities where his "America First" agenda hit home with American voters.More >>
  • Newcomer hopes for upset in race for Arizona's US House seat

    Newcomer hopes for upset in race for Arizona's US House seat

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 2:17 AM EDT2018-04-24 06:17:32 GMT
    Tuesday, April 24 2018 4:53 AM EDT2018-04-24 08:53:41 GMT
    (AP Photo/Matt York, File). FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2018, file photo, former Arizona state Sen. Debbie Lesko speaks with a constituent during the meeting of the state committee of the Arizona Republican Party in Phoenix. Lesko is running against Hiral ...(AP Photo/Matt York, File). FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2018, file photo, former Arizona state Sen. Debbie Lesko speaks with a constituent during the meeting of the state committee of the Arizona Republican Party in Phoenix. Lesko is running against Hiral ...
    A Democratic newcomer is looking to pull off an upset victory for an open U.S. House seat in Arizona that has been held by Republicans since the early 1980s.More >>
    A Democratic newcomer is looking to pull off an upset victory for an open U.S. House seat in Arizona that has been held by Republicans since the early 1980s.More >>
  • Spokesman: George HW Bush is eager to get well, go to Maine

    Spokesman: George HW Bush is eager to get well, go to Maine

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 12:35 AM EDT2018-04-24 04:35:44 GMT
    Tuesday, April 24 2018 4:53 AM EDT2018-04-24 08:53:30 GMT
    (AP Photo/David J. Phillip ). Former Presidents George W. Bush, left, and George H.W. Bush arrive at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip ). Former Presidents George W. Bush, left, and George H.W. Bush arrive at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston.
    A spokesman says former President George H.W. Bush is eager to get well so he can get to his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.More >>
    A spokesman says former President George H.W. Bush is eager to get well so he can get to his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.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.

Powered by Frankly