Juan Cole has a very informative op-ed in the Washington Post on Iraqi Shiites. Seems to me Juan Cole is the perfect example of how an academic can build their reputation by blogging.
Update: you might also be interested in the cemetery where much of the fighting between Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army and US and Iraq forces are taking place. Kevin Drum reports that it’s probably the largest cemetary in the world. There are 260,000 people buried at Arlington (which seems beyond huge to me) — it’s estimated that 5 million are buried at Wadi al-Salam. (You can get an idea of its size from this satellite photo.)