Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Taps For The Mahdi Army

Today is an auspicious day in Iraq,as the power of Moqtada al-Sadr's Iranian backed Mahdi Army is at an end.

Today, Iraqi troops swept into the Mahdi Army's Sadr City stronghold in Baghdad without incident..and on Maliki's terms, which involved them giving up their heavy weapons and allowing the Iraqi army total control over the area.

They're a spent force, unpopular by now with their own people,with their ranks decimated and their leader in hiding in Iran.

Even the New York Times had to admit it, although, they surmised with a hopeful giggle, the Mahdi Army 'could pop back up any time.'

Of course, that ignores the fact that the Mahdi Army didn't stand down voluntarily. Maliki made it very clear that there was only going to be one army and one law in Iraq, and if Mookie's boys didn't stand down voluntarily, they'd be laying down involuntarily...and permanently.

Or to use one of the catch phrases of an old bouncer pal of mine, you can either walk out of here or you can crawl.

This is a major triumph for Maliki and for the US and a major defeat for Iran, which was trying to create a Hezbollah in Iraq and failed.

And in a region where the perception of strength and weakness is everything, look for the Sadrists to take a major loss and Maliki's party to make major gains in th eupcoming parliamentary elections, barring something crazy happening.

Speaking of losses and gains,the Americans and the Iraqis are continuing to clean up the mess that was Basra. Instead of a place where the Mahdi Army and the other Shiite mafia gangs ran the city to suit themselves, there's now law an dorder as the thugs are being brought to justice:

The man, blindfolded and handcuffed, crouches in the corner of the detention center while an Iraqi soldier grills him about rampant crimes being carried out by gangs in the southern city of Basra.

How many girls did you kill and rape?” the soldier asks.

“I raped one, sir,” the man responds.

“What was her name?”

“Ahlam,” he says.

Ahlam was a university student in the predominantly Shiite city of Basra. The detainee said the gang he was in kidnapped her as she was leaving the university, heading home.

“They forced me, and I killed her with a machine gun, sir,” he says.

CNN was shown what authorities say was his first confession. On it are the names of 15 girls whom he admitted kidnapping, raping and killing. The youngest girl on the list was just 9 years old.

Women bore the brunt of the militias’ extremist ideologies. The militants spray-painted threats on walls across Basra, warning women to wear headscarves and not to wear make-up. Women were sometimes executed for the vague charge of doing something “un-Islamic.”

In the wasteland on the outskirts of Basra, dotted with rundown homes, the stench of death mixes with the sewage. Local residents told the Iraqi Army that executions often take place in the area, particularly for women, sometimes killed for something as seemingly inocuous as wearing jeans.

Militias implemented their own laws with abandon, threatening stores for displaying mannequins with bare shoulders or for selling Western music. Many store owners are still too frightened to speak publicly.

But the horrors of militia rule are now surfacing as some residents begin to feel more comfortable speaking out.

Inside her rundown home, Sabriya’s watery eyes peer out from under her robe. She points to the first photo of one of her sons on the wall.

“This one was killed because he was drinking,” she says.

She draws her finger across her neck and gestures at the next photo.

“This one was slaughtered for his car.”

“This one the same,” she adds, looking at the third.

Her three sons, her daughter and her sister were all killed by the hard-line militia. Her sister was slaughtered because she was a single woman living alone.

“They said [to her], ‘Why don’t you have a husband?’ ” Sabriya says. “They came in at night and put a pillow on her face and shot her in the head.”

These are the people the Angry Left championed as freedom fighters, the people Code Pink gave over half a million dollars to. And these are the people who would have had all of Iraq under their greasy thumbs if the pull-out-now n' surrender crowd had gotten its way.

There's no law out there that says that America has a mandate to save the world from itself, but once we were committed in Iraq,leaving the country in the hands of thugs like al-Qaeda and the Mahdi Army shouldn't have even been a topic for discussion.

And with an election coming up, I'd like to think that my fellow citizens of our beloved Republic might want to ponder exactly why people of a certain political persuasion were so hell-bent on an American defeat that would have shamed our country and left men, women and children to be brutalized, raped and murdered by these scum.

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