LA Times: Mahdi Army melting down

posted at 9:15 pm on April 3, 2007 by Allahpundit

Mmmmm yeah. All according to plan, per what Roggio’s been saying for months.

Seven weeks into the U.S.-led security crackdown in Baghdad, leaders of the Al Mahdi militia of Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr acknowledge that their fighters are chafing under orders to freeze operations, and worry they could lose control of the sprawling organization.

Some members have defected to armed groups that have no intention of calling a cease-fire. Commanders have gone underground, leaving a leadership void as U.S. forces arrest members in raids. Some commanders have fled to Iran and others to southern Iraq. Rumors abound about the location of Sadr.

Senior leaders of Sadr’s movement also worry openly that Iran has started to recruit Al Mahdi fighters to possibly confront U.S. forces in Iraq.

Yeah, we know all about that at this point, don’t we? JAM sources tells the Times that Sadr’s been purging his ranks since October, but that it hasn’t stopped the defections to the “rogue,” Iranian-backed wing of the Mahdi Army so far. In which case, why doesn’t Sadr play ball with Iran and offer his services as a Nasrallah-type proxy? Iran probably wants his brand name more than they want him, but they can’t be thrilled by the prospect of having their own foot soldiers targeted by fighters still loyal to Muqtada when they’re trying to establish hegemony. Much easier to coopt him and use him as a figurehead. Sadr is allegedly a true Iraqi nationalist, though, so that may be the stumbling block. Here’s another puzzle: if Iran really is trying to steal his militia out from under him, what on earth is Sadr doing hiding out in Iran? Shouldn’t he be nervous that they’re going to bump him off to decapitate the Sadrist movement, which could then be reoriented towards Tehran with promises of money and materiel? It’s like the leader of the Gambino family hiding out in Genovese territory. Either he’s not in Iran at all or he must be in cahoots with them and knows he has nothing to fear by being there. No other explanation makes sense.

This is interesting/promising, too:

The Baghdad security plan has left the Al Mahdi militia acutely aware of its enemies. Members are mindful of all those they believe are seeking to weaken them, particularly their Shiite rival, the Badr Brigade, which has evaded a similar crackdown despite being implicated in sectarian killings.

Abu Haidar also worried that the Americans had seized the opportunity to develop an intelligence network in Sadr City since establishing a base on the edge of the district last month. He believed that it was no accident that nightly raids in the community, which forms the bedrock of the Al Mahdi militia’s support, had resulted in a string of arrests of top members.

For some reason the Badr Brigade rarely come up in big media reports, probably because they have no cult of personality like the one that surrounds Sadr. It’s a big oversight, though: not only do they pose the main threat to the JAM’s Shiite dominance once we’re out, but they can count on support from Iran thanks to SCIRI’s ties with the Iranian government. Whatever Iran’s doing with the JAM, it has an impact somehow on the Badrists but the media rarely stops to ask what that is. In fact, I wonder if Iran had initially tapped the Badr Brigade to play the Hezbollah role in Iraq and then had to regroup when Sadr, through his own charisma, the prominence of his family name, and his own precocious mafia skills, built a bigger machine than they could faster than they could. I also wonder why, if they’re building a militia army to fight the U.S., they need to lure away members of the Mahdi Army instead of just using the Badr Brigade for that purpose. It could be that the Badrists simply don’t have the numbers that the JAM does or it could be that the stuff about fighting the Americans is nonsense and they’re just looking to split off as many of Sadr’s guys as they can to diminish his power. If the latter, then it’s ironic that we find ourselves working on the same project as Iran. And a testament to Sadr’s power, I guess.

So much for tonight’s rank speculation; look for it tomorrow on the front page of the Independent and at the top of the Drudge Report. Elsewhere, Iraqslogger claims that Sunni jihadis have now somehow acquired official ID badges to enter the Green Zone, which is not nearly as far fetched as it sounds. Are we ramping up security measures to deal with the problem? On the contrary, Iraqi government officials are pressuring U.S. troops to ease off on searching them and their security details, despite the fact that many of them are filthy with links to terrorists and the deputy PM was almost murdered a few weeks ago by his own relative-turned-jihadi-turned-bodyguard.

Ayatollah Sistani nixed the reconciliation law that would have allowed Baathists back into the government, too. Shiites uber alles.

Iraqi blogger Hammorabi, who’s been pro-war for as long as I’ve been reading him, says it’s all over and we lost.


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Comments

Hammorabi writes:

Lastly the USA is wrong in its tactic and war against terror by lunching its war against the tails while the sources which supply these tails are in power in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states and so on.

…now we know why Nanci Pelosi (Dhimmicrat) is in Syria, to meet with its leader tomorrow…

Entelechy on April 3, 2007 at 9:30 PM

Nancy, of course…note to self, read first…

Entelechy on April 3, 2007 at 9:31 PM

Meanwhile, ABC News is telling the world how the U.S. is working with groups in Pakistan who conduct crossborder raids into … drum roll please … IRAN! Thank you Brian Ross! If you were around in 1944 you’d be tellin’ the world “Allies to Invade at Normandy”. Traitor.

Tony737 on April 3, 2007 at 9:40 PM

Meanwhile, ABC News is telling the world how the U.S. is working with groups in Pakistan who conduct crossborder raids into … drum roll please … IRAN!

Okay, so who tipped him off? Who has that kind of intel? Who could possibly know?

Rosie…

Mojave Mark on April 3, 2007 at 9:44 PM

…now we know why Nanci Pelosi (Dhimmicrat) is in Syria, to meet with its leader tomorrow…

Entelechy on April 3, 2007 at 9:30 PM

Investment in Defeat and upping the ante.

Kini on April 3, 2007 at 9:49 PM

Tony737 on April 3, 2007 at 9:40 PM

I saw that alert earlier. Apparently there was a need on the part of ABC news to re-spin the British hostage story in a new anti-American light. Believe me, that specific link will be made (if it hasn’t already).

Never mind the Free the Irbil 5 jerk-fest that has already started.

SailorDave on April 3, 2007 at 9:55 PM

Iraqi blogger Hammorabi, who’s been pro-war for as long as I’ve been reading him, says it’s all over and we lost.

Naw. I don’t believe it. Baghdad is the key. IF we can establish lasting security with iraq security forces in the capital, the population will be motivated to follow suit.

csdeven on April 3, 2007 at 9:55 PM

Here’s another puzzle: if Iran really is trying to steal his militia out from under him, what on earth is Sadr doing hiding out in Iran? Shouldn’t he be nervous that they’re going to bump him off to decapitate the Sadrist movement, which could then be reoriented towards Tehran with promises of money and materiel? It’s like the leader of the Gambino family hiding out in Genovese territory. Either he’s not in Iran at all or he must be in cahoots with them and knows he has nothing to fear by being there. No other explanation makes sense.

Timing Allah. When Iran has enough influential JAM capos, Sadr becomes expendable.

I’ve wondered when Sadr would surface. His continued absence from Iraqi streets has to be, eroding his influence. He may have run ahead of the surge only to find that Iran has other things in mind for JAM. Iran may have an ace in the hole a favorite son, to take Sadr’s place. It would suprise me if he were walking around Iran free to do as he pleases. Who knows, but Sadr is probably more of a hostage than a guest.

Theworldisnotenough on April 3, 2007 at 10:27 PM

“Thank you Brian Ross! If you were around in 1944 you’d be tellin’ the world “Allies to Invade at Normandy”. Traitor.”

Yep.

georgej on April 3, 2007 at 11:47 PM

http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=3001578

ABC News did a fair report about the new strategy bringing security for Baghdad citizens.

With the security increase for Baghdad business owners it is also helping the economy.

Only 40% of the U.S. troop surge has been assembled and many positive accomplishments have already been seen.
This new strategy has a serious chance of working and finally providing the kind of marked security improvement the American people have been hoping for.

Hopefully ABC News will be the leader in reporting these positive accomplishments in the future.

angryamerican on April 4, 2007 at 12:03 AM

angryamerican on April 4, 2007 at 12:03 AM

Aaaaarrrrrrrgggh! icecream…in…baghdad???!! Too…much…positive…info!!!! Must…..visit….kos….and…huffpo…for… refill…of…lies…and…traitorous…rantings!!!!!

Evil…angryamerican!!!! Must…ignore…you!!!

csdeven on April 4, 2007 at 12:11 AM

csdeven on April 4, 2007 at 12:11 AM

You just KNOW that with any good news, that is exactly what they are doing…….

PinkyBigglesworth on April 4, 2007 at 12:26 AM

I didn’t get from that article that Sistani “nixed” the deal. I get that he is generally opposed to having criminal Baathists back but I also noted that he is talking with lawmakers. He hasn’t discounted the idea out of hand. At least not yet. Also, the government has proposed as a part of this that a reinstated Baathist’s appointment can be protested and their case investigated. So it isn’t like the government gets carte blanc authority to reinstate anyone.

crosspatch on April 4, 2007 at 12:33 AM

Allah, Hammorabi is a Shiite partisan. That’s why he’s always been pro-war and it’s why I stopped reading him a long time ago. He thinks the war on terror is lost because he thinks we’re going to invade Iran, not because of anythingthat happened in Iraq. He wants us to target the Sunnis only.

Still it’s almost as depressing in that it reminds you of what the sectarian divide is like in Iraq.

The Apologist on April 4, 2007 at 1:23 AM

Allah,

Also, VDH stepped up to the plate and absolutely crushed it today at The Corner. Outta the park. Grand Slam.

It’s only two paragraphs, but it’s all the justification for more aggressive action on Iran that we need. I hope someone in the White House is paying attention.

The Apologist on April 4, 2007 at 4:51 AM

Sistani’s office has officially denied reports that it is against proposals to readmit Baathists to government. Those statements of his being opposed to it were issued by some minion who was not authorized to speak for Sistani.

http://www.alsabaah.com/paper.php?source=akbar&mlf=interpage&sid=39990

crosspatch on April 4, 2007 at 1:15 PM