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May 08, 2008

Hmmm... Hezballah Attacking Lebanon Now Because Iran's Other Proxy, the Mahdi Army, Has Been Decimated?

Interesting theory. With one mole soundly whacked, Iran pops up another one to saber-rattle at the US.

But ever since Prime Minister Maliki launched Operation Cavalry Charge on March 25 in Basra, the Iraqi government, with some U.S. air cover and logistical support, has been engaged in a war of attrition with the Mahdi Army; witling away the once-sharp and threatening capability of Iran’s investment in terror. Whereas these ‘Special Groups’ could launch 30 to 40 projectiles into the Green Zone a few weeks ago, today they can only manage one or two rockets. The Iraqi Army and the US military have pushed on into all the redoubts of the Sadrists, notably Sadr City where some 1200 fatalities (a significant number of them non-combatants) have occurred.

Maliki has also ordered the Iraqi Red Crescent to prepare an initial contingency plan to absorb 100,000 refugees from Sadr City, indicating that he is not backing down. Moreover, there’s word from parliament that the government has asked for the removal of legal immunity from several parliamentarians, some of whom are Sadrists, over charges of inciting violence against government troops. Particularly vulnerable is Sadrist MP Baha’ al-‘Araji.

Clearly, Maliki feels that he’s come out on top in his scuffle with the Sadrists, and recent confrontations in Basra, Kut, Hillah, Shatrah, Karbala, Shula City (Baghdad), Nassiriya and Suq al-Shuyush have shown that the Sadrists are no match for the Iraqi Army and police who continue to arrest Sadrist leaders and evict the movement from its offices.

The Sadrists and the Iranians have been reduced to bravado and PSY-OPS: one account has it that the Sadrists have a plan to take over the Green Zone within seven hours, and that they can take over Basra within 24 hours. Another is that General Suleimani of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard actually controls events in Iraq.

But in effect, Iran has lost the deterrence value of its investment in the Sadrists.

That’s why Iran needed to flex its might in downtown Beirut, to embarrass the Saudis and others who can do very little to bail-out Siniora’s government.

Thanks to CJ.

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posted by Ace at 04:21 PM

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