"They (the government) responded to ideas with force"
Asharq al-Awsat, in a report this morning on ceremonies of mourning for the victims of the violence in Basra and Nasiriya, highlights this:
The armed groups said they are followers of Ahmad al-Hasan and not of the Army of Heaven as has been reported in some media. ...And a spokesman for the group of Ahman al-Hasan, called al-Yemani, whose armed people fought with security officers in the two provinces, said day before yesterday in a tape broadcast on the Iraqi satellite station Al-Sharqiya although admitting that it cut parts of it: "There is no connection between it [the Ahmad Hasan al-Yemani group] and the Army of Heaven, although the government is trying to link it to them. The responsibility for all of the bloodshed lies with ... because they countered ideas with force. The Ahmad al-Hasan group has been in existence for eight years, but starting two years ago the government has had a campaign to arrest all of its members, keeping them in custody for several months [at a time].The italics are mine. I don't suppose I can get an "Amen"...
And he said: The Ahmed al-Hasan group is a group with conceptual beliefs, and it is not terrorist, and it is not military, and it does not carry arms. It aims to join mankind by morality and not by intermediaries or by authorities (marjaiyat), because what emanates from them is [nothing but] fighting between sects.