Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Next Threat

Well, with the Baathists, Sunni Arab tribes, and al Qaeda in Iraq declining threats, the Shia thugs have risen to the top of the to-kill list. This includes both Sadr's boys and Iran's puppets 9and some overlap, of course):

Iraq's prime minister warned gunmen in the oil port of Basra to surrender their weapons by Friday or face harsher measures, as clashes between security forces and Shiite militia fighters spread throughout the south and in Baghdad.

The fighting is still going on. I imagine that Maliki wants this to be done relatively low key to avoid providing the Sadrists with sympathy form the wider Shia population.

Given what I believe is Sadr's weakness, I truly would be shocked if this latest crisis explodes into levels of violence that past threats provided. For this to happen, the Iranians would have to decide to really escalate their level of involvement. Already they help shell the Green Zone:

In Baghdad, 16 rockets slammed into the U.S.-protected Green Zone, the U.S. military said, as the heavily fortified area was hammered for the third time this week. One soldier with the U.S.-led coalition, two American civilians and an Iraqi soldier were wounded in the attacks, it said.At least 11 Iraqis were killed elsewhere in the capital by rounds that apparently fell short, police said.

I assume these are the Iranian-supported terrorists. While it appears that the Iraqis can handle the Sadrists (and recall in 2004 that we had to fight them without the raw Iraqi security forces), we need to take down the Iranian-supported goons. It really should be unacceptable that the Green Zone is being shelled at will.

This is a necessary step in securing Iraq and not a reversal of the surge gains. The 3-day deadline to surrender should be interesting to observe. While I wouldn't expect surrenders, if the Sadrists are as weak as I suspect, they may disperse and disappear by the deadline and leave Iraqi security forces in control of Basra and the other cities in dispute.