Jun 19 2008
Prime Minister Maliki has executed another smashing success in Iraq has Iraqi forces have taken control of the Sadrist enclave of Amarah, the capitol city of Maysan Province. Â The initial phase was a window for militants (mostly Mahdi Militia) to surrender there arms and join society. Â Apparently that was very successful:
Dozens of Shiite militiamen surrendered to Iraqi forces on Wednesday hours before a deadline set by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for them to lay down their arms ahead of a new military crackdown.
Officials said the four-day deadline given to the fighters in the southern oil rich province of Maysan was successful although some militants had escaped ahead of the crackdown set to begin at midnight (2100 GMT).
In no small part this was due to the pre-surrender of the Sadrist Movement as it was facing the Iraqi government action (see here and here). During the window of amnesty Iraqi troops massed in key locations, cordoning off the area so as to make sure no remaining big fish could escape the net (many had left already for Iran, which borders the Province and the City).
The operation began today and was met with little resistance or fighting as the Sadrists and the Mahdi Militia rolled over in surrender:
Iraqi troops are meeting no resistance as they achieve their objectives calmly in the crackdown against Shiite militias in the southern Maysan province, a security official told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on Thursday.
In the early hours on Thursday, the troops started a security offensive against militias after a four-day deadline for militants to surrender their arms expired.
‘The offensive has started without armed clashes. We are achieving our objectives calmly and we met no resistance,’ General Abdel-Karim Khalaf, the spokesman for Iraqi Ministry of Interior told dpa.
‘Troops are working in normal conditions without having to impose a curfew,’ the general said.
In one of the more bold elements of the move a deputy governor, a Sadrist leader, was apprehended:
Security forces in Iraq arrested the deputy governor of Missan province on Thursday in a security operation against Shia militias, the Voices of Iraq news agency reported.Â
According to Voices of Iraq, the Missan Deputy Governor, Rafeaa Jabar, who is also the mayor of the city of Amara, is a senior figure in the Mahdi Army militia of the anti-US cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
The director of al-Sadr’s office in Missan, Sheikh Adnan al-Silawi, confirmed Jabar’s arrest to VOI.
Amarah and the surrounding Maysan Province are thought to be the central hub for weapons and other support from Iran. Â By taking control of this border area Iraq has severely curtailed Iran’s ability to cause mayhem and atrocities inside Iraq. Â
The liberal SurrenderMedia will have a tough time twisting this fourth, successful major action across Iraq in so many months as a big defeat in the quagmire of Iraq. Â All four of these efforts (Basra, Sadr City, Mosul and now Amarah) were Iraqi led efforts with US and coalition forces in back up roles. Â It is a clear sign we have achieved victory in Iraq, which will be marked with an exclamation point with the new round of elections this fall and next spring. Â The deniers can keep their blinders on – but it only makes them look ever more foolish, ever more incredible.