Attention Mahdi Army: US All Out Of Bubble Gum

It’s the second day of fighting in Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad, and the US is having it out with Sadr’s goons:

American troops swept into the troubled, predominantly Shiite city of Diwaniyah before dawn on Friday, killing three militia fighters and capturing 27 in the first day of the assault, the military said. The attack — named “Operation Black Eagle” — targeted gunmen loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Fighting continued Saturday.

Dozens of people have been killed in Diwaniyah during the past weeks and the attacks have been blamed by residents on the Mahdi Army, al-Sadr’s militia.

Many women, accused by the hard-line and fundamentalist militiamen of violating their interpretation of Islamic morality, are among the dead.

Interesting that we have apparently dropped the fiction of only targeting “rogue” Mahdi Army elements and are explicitly lighting up Sadr’s goons. Good. I suspect Diwaniyah may be a precursor to a possible pacification of Baghdad’s Sadr City, and we are learning about their tactics when we are ready to snap the Mahdi Army in half for good.

Meanwhile NATO kicks Talibutt in Helmand province. I’m not sure whether the objective is to cut off Taliban control of the opium revenues from the area around Sangin, or we’re just there because that’s where the Taliban and their “foreign fighters” are.

It’s been said, many times, many ways, but I’m glad we’re killing these foreign fighters there and not here.

UPDATE: The Christian Science Monitor says we’re already tiptoeing around Sadr City.