Apr 30 2008
With the Jeremiah Wright flack running heavy I did not post any news stories of interest from the war on terror – so today’s update has a lot of articles. I am going to start with a very unique article from UPI which discusses new calm in Sadr City – which we all know has been the center of fighting between Sadr’s Mahdi thugs and Iraqi and US forces. My opinion is what this article is reporting is true in that those areas of Sadr City now under Iraqi control are liberated and thankful – which belies much of the reporting we see from the rest of the news media:
Violent clashes in Baghdad’s Sadr City between gunmen of the Mehdi Army and U.S. forces and Iraqi Security Forces appears to have dampened, allowing U.S. and Iraqi Army troops to continue outreach efforts in the southern reaches of the volatile district while continuing to mop up Mehdi Army elements.
“I think the people here are scared of JAM (Jaish al-Mehdi, the Arabic-language name for the Mehdi Army) and the special groups and have had enough of this fighting,” said Capt. Ryan Williams, of Comanche Troop, 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 3rd Brigade. “Since it started we’ve gotten a steady stream of tips on weapons caches and the hideouts — and they’ve proved accurate.”
The outpost still receives occasional sniper fire, but the intensity of late last month and earlier this month has waned. Earlier this week an Iraqi soldier firing a machine gun took out two snipers up the road who were targeting them and U.S. forces. But one other still remains, making patrols a hazardous venture.
“I feel safer now with the army back,” Hassan Abed al-Karim told soldiers who stopped by his home in the Tharwa district. “My children go to school to the south so they are safe, but I don’t allow them to play on the street when home.”
The Iraqi lives close to the main road separating northern from southern Sadr City. He said militia would come into his neighborhood and fire rockets from open fields in the area.
The difference here seems to be this journalist is embedded with our troops and is reporting first hand, which is probably why he has developed a very different view of the Sadr City fighting.
This article highlights Maliki’s new strength since the Basra action and hints at the next stages of mopping up the militants in Iraq:
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s recent crackdown on militias in Basra has opened a fresh chapter in Iraqi politics, given the army new impetus, and restored a degree of public confidence in the state’s ability to enforce the rule of law.
But building on this success will depends greatly on his next move, an operation to clear the northern city of Mosul of al-Qaeda and Baathist militants.
The major Sunni political bloc, the Accord Front, had withdrawn from the cabinet, but has signalled its desire to return to government as a result of the Basra operation.
As Accord Front leader Adnan al-Dulaimi made clear, one of the bloc’s demands was to “hunt down and disband the militias and curb the outlaws”.
Another gain for the prime minister was the rapprochement he achieved with Iraqi vice-president Tariq al-Hashimi, one of the most prominent and powerful Sunni figures engaged in the political process. The often strained relationship between the two men was one of the factors that led to the Sunni boycott of the cabinet.
Hashimi has publicly backed the Basra assault, and now sits together with the prime minister in the crisis operations room that is considering how to handle the next issue on Maliki’s agenda â€“ Mosul.
This article covers the praise the US has been heaping on the ever stronger Iraqi forces who have demonstrated their mettle during the confrontation with Sadr’s Mahdi forces. Most cases show over 90% of the fighters staying their ground and successfully dealing with the Mahdi “Army” (a comical moniker to say the least).
This article highlights the actions in Baghdad (Sadr City) yesterday, which was a bad day for the bad guys.
The farce in all of this is the claim Sadr and his Iranian trained-armed thugs are for peace and not attacking Iraqis. No one believes this and there are plenty of news reports, such as this one, to expose their lies:
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the nephew of Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf was killed on Tuesday in Sadr City district _ the stronghold of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’ Mahdi Army.
Khalaf was in charge of the government crackdown against the Mahdi Army in Basra in late March and has survived past assassination attempts. Clashes have spread to Sadr City since then.
The driving force behind the grisly violence is Iran, and there was a very interesting article out yesterday on the main man behind Iran’s efforts to destabilize Iraq:
Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani commands the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, an elite paramilitary and espionage organization whose mission is to expand Iran’s influence in the Middle East.
As Tehran’s point man on Iraq, he funnels military and financial support to various Iraqi factions, frustrating U.S. attempts to build a pro-Western democracy on the rubble of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.
According to Iraqi and American officials, Suleimani has ensured the elections of pro-Iranian politicians, met frequently with senior Iraqi leaders and backed Shiite elements in the Iraqi security forces that are accused of torturing and killing minority Sunni Muslims.
“Whether we like him (Suleimani) or not, whether Americans like him or not, whether Iraqis like him or not, he is the focal point of Iranian policy in Iraq,” said a senior Iraqi official who asked not to be identified so he could speak freely. “The Quds Force have played it all, political, military, intelligence, economic. They are Iranian foreign policy in Iraq.”
It would seem we have a target if we need to decapitate the resistance. The general has been seen in Iraq many times. It would be quite damning to Iran and the appeasers on the left here in America if the man turned up in the midst of the Mahdi thugs.
Finally, the death toll for US forces ticked up as expected giving the open warfare going on in Iraq, but I was surprised to see it has not climbed that much – apparently we are at 47 dead in April (a terrible price to have to pay to be sure), which is about the same as January (See chart below for data through March) Our prayers and undying thanks go out to those brave people and their families who gave the ultimate sacrifice to finish Iraq with success.
Thankfully through all this new round of fighting the Mahdi “Army” has demonstrated it is an impotent forces. Like most Islamic Fascist thugs they talk big and can kill and torture unarmed civilians, but when it comes to the real thing all the fascists do is die in droves (note it is a Sadrist mouthpiece claiming most of the dead are women and children).
Maliki is not being cowered by the Propaganda efforts by the Sadrists. He has made clear his conditions – disarm or else. And he reiterated that today, including the statement that either the Islamo Fascists disarm or they will be disarmed by force:
Iraq will disarm the Mehdi Army militia by force if it does not lay down its weapons, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday, aiming some of his toughest language yet at the Shi’ite fighters.
The prime minister laid down four conditions — that militia disarm, stop interfering in state affairs, stop running their own courts and hand over wanted fugitives — or face a military assault.
“To refuse these conditions means the continuation of the government’s efforts to disarm them by force,” Maliki said at a news conference inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone government and diplomatic compound.
The man is rock solid on this – which is good. We need to support his efforts with the same fortitude since, if he succeeds, we have the best and only chance of drawing down our forces and bringing our people home. This is the kind of action the Dems wanted to force Iraq into by running away. Now we need to stand firm and help Iraq cleanse itself of the thugs so it can step into a stable and peaceful future. Now is not the time surrender.
Update: AFP is reporting over 900 dead in clashes inside Sadr City – Mookie is probably running low on real fighters.