US forces clash with Mahdi Army

#1
Seems the yanks are getting fed up with Al-Sadr's men...

American troops and the Mahdi Army militia of Moqtada al-Sadr clashed in the slums of Baghdad yesterday, raising fears for the future of a year-long US truce with the fiery Shia cleric's gunmen.

The fighting came as insurgent attacks took the lives of at least 31 people, including 13 commandos from the elite Wolf Brigade, the Iraqi army's showcase anti-terrorism unit, killed when a suicide bomber rammed into their convoy in the south-east of the capital.


Mahdi Army gunmen opened fire on US forces that entered their stronghold in Baghdad's Sadr City slums to arrest three of their colleagues accused by the Americans of running a "kidnap and torture" cell.

Coalition forces in Iraq appear to have run out of patience with the Mahdi Army after what one US officer described as "repeated provocation" in recent months.

The crackdown began last week when British officers arrested three senior Mahdi Army officials in Basra on suspicion of carrying out attacks on military targets in southern Iraq.
[C] www.telegraph.co.uk
 
#2
From : http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,170368,00.html

"On Sunday, gunmen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (search) ambushed an Iraqi patrol in an eastern Baghdad slum, and U.S. forces joined a 90-minute gunbattle, killing as many as eight of the attackers in the first significant violence in the neighborhood in nearly a year."

Al Sadr has been biding his time at some point he and his force will have to be dealt with. This time around hopefully The Iraqi's will be able to do most of the fighting.
 
#3
I don't see how, unless we've trained up a shedload of ex RG Sunni's.
 
#4
Thning is that sadr knows that the yanks will try to pass the fight to the iraqi's (not in a cowardly way, simply in a "It looks better to all that it's iraqi's combating the insurgents rather than Americans")

Thats why he has started attacking the high profile iraqi CT forces.

The fighting came as insurgent attacks took the lives of at least 31 people, including 13 commandos from the elite Wolf Brigade, the Iraqi army's showcase anti-terrorism unit, killed when a suicide bomber rammed into their convoy in the south-east of the capital.
from the telegraph

He wants to demoralise them before they start to squeeze his power base
 
#5
It's also possible that al-Sadr is looking to use the Coalition/Iraqi forces to consolidate his power base. He portrays himself as a protector of the people, and it's notable that these clashes occurred as US troops entered "his" territory. Given the current incompetence of the US info ops campaign it's not difficult for him to portray any civvies caught in the crossfire as victims of unprovoked US aggression. Hence the US wish to stay out of things.

However, Iraqi troops drawn from Sadr City will not fight against their neighbours. So any Iraqi troops used must come from outside to be of any use. However, that then makes any actions they undertake an invasion by outsiders. Don't forget that the primary loyalty of most Iraqis is not to the Iraqi state, it is to their tribe/religion/neighbourhood/warlord or whatever. Hence he is now seen by the locals as protecting them from outside threats and consequently consolidates his hold on power. The place is a slum with high unemployment so the locals have little to lose except their pride.

What could change things would be restoration of essential services to their pre-Telic levels or better, employment opportunities and so on. But it's been over two years now and we're still waiting, billions of dollars notwithstanding.
 
#6
A little better news with killing of Al-Zarqawi's number 2 as from BBC site.
Unfortunately he'll have another number 2 by now, but if the account is true some locals are doing the right thing by these cnuts.
 

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