A new propaganda video posted by Sunni insurgents on the Internet shows graphic scenes of the execution of more than a dozen captured fighters who were supposedly working with Iranian agents in Iraq to attack Sunni neighborhoods.
The tape shows what the insurgents describe as Iranian weapons smuggled to the rival Shiite militias and a specific piece of communications equipment labeled, in Farsi, "The Iranian Ministry of Defense."
The United States is never mentioned in the 30-minute tape, which focuses entirely on the bloody showdown between the two Islamic sects, Sunnis and Shiites.
THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS
The Army of the Supporters of al Sunna, the group that released the tape, shows numerous pictures of bodies, including those of children, and claims they were all killed by Shiites. Two Sunni men, who allegedly survived a massacre in which the rest of their families were killed, claim they were interrogated by Iranian agents and tortured.
"This is an ideological migration," Nibras al Kazimi, visiting professor at the Hudson Institute tells ABC News. Al Kazimi, who has seen the video and regularly writes about events in the Middle East, explains that insurgent groups are changing their focus from the Americans and the Iraqi National Guard to Shiite militias.
Al Kazimi disagrees with those who label the situation in Iraq "civil war." "There are marginal groups on both sides that are killing people," he says, adding that when he sees spikes in numbers of people killed he attributes it to the same number of killers committing more crimes. "We have not seen bricks flying around or cars being burnt on the streets. We have not seen an outbreak," he says.
The video goes on to show a Shiite man identified as "Hazem al A'raji, one of the prominent leaders of al Sadr movement and al Mahdi Army," repeatedly calling on Shiites to bear arms and kill "Wahabbis and Baathists." "Carry your weapon and fight every impure Wahhabi. Yes, I tell you that, and I am responsible for what I say," says "al A'raji," who was supposedly appointed by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr as the Imam of the Shiite shrine of al Kazemeya in Baghdad.
Men described as captured members of al Mahdi Army are seen on the tape, sometimes blindfolded and with their hands tied, admitting to targeting Sunnis. One man claims that the Iraqi government brings the weapons from Iran to supply al Mahdi Army.
The group also claims that Iraqi police and National Guard turn a blind eye towards Shiites' killing of Sunnis. So-called "eye witnesses" talk about members of Iraqi police being present during specific incidents without intervening.
The video also shows "members of al Mahdi Army" allegedly "celebrating the killing of Sunnis" and freeze the picture a number of times to point to trucks carrying members of Iraqi police or National Guard that were passing by and did not stop.
The group's claims on the tape could not be independently verified, although U.S. officials increasingly blame Iran for providing weapons and advisers to the Shiite militias. U.S. officials had told ABC News there was evidence that Iran was supplying Shiite militias with weapons.
The video is expected to increase the already high tension between Sunnis and Shiites, especially amongst members of jihadist forums where it was posted.