So I am giving my final warning ... to the Iraqi government ... to take the path of peace and abandon violence against its people. If the government does not refrain ... we will declare an open war until liberation.
In other words quit killing my thugs or you're going to see the mother of all etc. You may have heard, we are fighting Sadr’s militia again. Someone please kill this son of a goat! We had him twice and the Iraqi governments at the time told us to let him go. This time however it’s the Iraqi government and one time ally al-Maliki going after him, or at least going after his minions, brave Muqtada is still hiding out in Iran.
As usual the MSM has missed the real story. Yes Maliki launched a hasty attack using the Iraqi Army 14th Division, made up largely of Shiites from the Basra region. Two brigades, around 1200 men, committed treason. Most of Basra’s 11,000 police force also refused to fight. This should come as no surprise, Basra has been Sadr’s since the British surrendered the region last September. Iraqi Army forces could not even use local hospitals, those were in Sadr’s control. That’s the story you heard, victory for Muqtada since the Iraqis couldn’t finish him.
Most Americans know of the Battle of Bunker Hill but most would be surprised that we lost. What makes the battle so important is that while the British took Breed and Bunker hill, they paid a terrible price and America demonstrated to the world that they could go toe to toe with the best army in the world. British General Clinton remarked; “A few more such victories would have shortly put an end to British dominion in America." The real story here is that a Shiite led Iraqi government went after a Shiite led militia, and went toe to toe despite the defections.
The ISF mobilized more than 30,000 troops for the fight, including thousands drawn from outside of Basra. While it did use some coalition transport, it also employed its own aircraft for the movement, which went relatively smoothly. Again we might recall that a key benchmark in 2007 was the deployment of three Iraqi army brigades (perhaps 9,000 soldiers) to support the Baghdad Security Plan. The ISF just deployed more than three times that number on short notice to fight without coalition ground forces in support.
Iranian military intervention in Iraq should now be manifest to everyone. The commander of the Quds Force was himself involved in the cessation of fighting, and he did not "broker" the deal as a neutral mediator since his forces were among the belligerents.
The ability of the Sadrists and Iranian-controlled Special Groups to plunge Iraq into chaos has been exaggerated. To the extent that they have just tried to do that, they failed completely. In 2004, Sadr threw Baghdad and Karbala into full-scale combat that lasted for weeks and required the deployment of thousands of American soldiers to reestablish control. The most recent showing was a pale shadow of 2004.
The even bigger story is why and for that we go to Omar at Iraq the Model.
Telling Sadr that his movement cannot take part in elections unless he disbands his militias and surrenders weapons is a turning point in Iraqi politics, especially because a broad political front including leading Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish powers emerged to back this new trend in dealing with this issue.
He is talking about the Political Council for National Security that last Saturday called on all parties and political movements in Iraq to dissolve their armed militias or forgo participating in the local and provincial council elections due next October.
This entity managed for the first time a week ago to overcome the impotence that had halted its mission since its inception. Evidence of the newfound potency of this entity is that Ayad Allawi, who had refused being part of it for a long time, is now sending delegates to negotiate terms for his membership.
The ongoing confrontation highlights a dramatic change in the inclination of the Iraqi leadership, which decided to face the challenge with unwavering resolve instead of shrinking away. We have learned from the experience of the last five years that unresolved fights tend to be very costly in the long run, as we will have to deal with recurrent fights over and over again. It can be understood from Maliki’s words that he came to realize that the decision to disband or exterminate illegal military entities should have been made a long time ago.
Haven’t heard of the Political Council for National Security? Well now you have and that my friends is the rest of the story. This could be as big a development as the Sunni Awakening, a Shia Awakening if you will.
Update: The Iraqi Government is now in total control of Basra. Brave Muqtada is still in Iran.