Sunday, April 20, 2008

al-Sadr On His Last Legs, As Iraqi Offensive Continues

To use a sanitized version of that pungent old phrase, Mookie's posterior must be exuding buttermilk.

In spite of the dinosaur media's fervent efforts to paint it otherwise, the Iraqi army and their American allies continue attack the Mahdi Army in its strongholds in Basra and in Sadr City in Baghdad...and they're winning handily.

Basra has already been secured, with the Iraqi army overrunning the last Sadrist stronghold in the Hayaniya neighborhood of the city and chasing the Mahdi Army out yesterday, April 19th.

As I reported earlier, the Shiite Badr Force associated with Ayatollah Sistani, the senior Shiite cleric in Iraq have officially become part of the government forces and took their part in chasing the Mahdi Army out of Basra. This is a huge story, much bigger than the dinosaur media would like to admit. The Badr Force was formerly one of the Shiite militias receiving arms and backing from Iran, and they've effectively switched sides, with Ayatolah Sistani calling for Moqtada al-Sadr to disband the Mahdi Army and lay down his arms.

Some of you will also remember that after the first battle of Faluja, it was Ayatollah Sistani who gave asylum to Mookie in Karballa and prevented the US from taking him out of commission. Things have changed.

After his ouster from Basra, al-Sadr threatened to launch 'open war' against Maliki and the 'occupiers' if they didn't cease their offensive against the Mahdi Army. The Iraqi and US response to that was a fresh assault on Sadr City that ended up with 20 of Mookie's finest receiving some permanent r&r six feet under and another 40 or so captured, in the offensive, which targeted the southern Souk al-Shiuk district inSadr City, a long time Mahdi Army stronghold.

Another 40 0r so were killed when the Iraqi army retaliated after the Mahdi Army attacked them yesterday in the southern city of Nasiriyah.

Mookie himself is believed to be in Iran, where he fled, as I predicted he probably would.

Iraqi Prime minister al-Maliki, for his part,was quite blunt about any kind of reconciliation with the Mahdi Army:

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is calling on political parties to unite against armed groups in Iraq, a spokesman said Sunday, warning that "Iraq cannot be the new Somalia."

"It is a clear message," al-Maliki spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said of the situation in Iraq. "We cannot accept the presence of armed groups."

I must admit, a year ago I never would have thought al-Maliki was capable of making that kind of stand.

Iran, for it's part is playing both ends against the middle as usual.Now that the Mahdi Army is on the run, Iran's Ambassador to Iraq is suddenly referring to the Mahdi Army as 'outlaws' and claims Iran supports the Iraqi government. That's for public consumption by the dino media, since Iran is still supplying the Mahdi Army with arms and funding them, but it also is a tacit admission that the mullahs have suffered a startling defeat here, and that Iran's attempt to create an Iraqi Hezbollah-like state within a state as in Lebanon has failed utterly.Don't be surprised if the Iranians turn Mookie over to the Iraqis, as a lesson to others on the harsh price of failure.

As is usual in that part of the world, people respond to strength and power, and the US surge changing the facts on the ground and the Iraqi perception of the level of our commitment to victory there have turned things around amazingly.

Mookie is halal toast.

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