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June 27, 2008

Mahdi Army Decimated; Analysts Call Sadr's Victory "Inevitable"

Will the last man in the Mahdi Army please turn on the Victory Lights?

The Mahdi Army suffered a significant blow during fighting against Iraqi and Coalition forces this year, according to an Iraq intelligence report. The heavy casualties suffered by the Mahdi Army have forced Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi Army and the Sadrist political movement, to change his tactics and disband the Mahdi Army in favor of a small, secretive fighting force.

"More than 2,000 cadres from the Mahdi Army leaders were killed recently," an Iraqi intelligence official told Gulf News. "This led to the almost complete collapse of the army," the official said. An estimated 1,300 Mahdi Army fighters "escaped to safe houses in Iran." Muqtada al Sadr currently resides in Qom, Iran, under the protection of Iran's Qods Force.

The Mahdi Army took heavy casualties while opposing the Iraqi security forces in Basrah and the South and against US and Iraqi forces in Sadr City during operations to secure the areas in March, April, and May. More than 1,000 Mahdi Army fighters were killed in Sadr City alone, according to a Mahdi Army commander in Baghdad. Another 415 were killed in Basrah. More than 400 were killed during fighting in the southern cities of Najaf, Karbala, Hillah, Diwaniyah, Amarah, Samawah, and Nasiriyah in late March and early April, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Thousands more have been wounded our captured.

The setbacks in Baghdad, Basrah, and the South have forced Sadr to turn the Mahdi Army into "a secret military organization," the Iraqi report stated. "The number of members doesn't exceed 150-200, hugely down from the total estimated number of 50,000 in the past two years."

50,000 down to 150-200? "Decimated" means "reduced by ten percent." What's the word for "reduced by 99.6%"? Oh, right -- destroyed.

Dave Price frets we've played right into Sadr's masterful hands:

Who wants to be tied down with thousands of followers anyway? This was probably his plan all along.

Yes it's just an efficiency-increasing move. Sadr's Iranian hiding hole has banners up telling his followers Don't terrorize harder, terrorize smarter.



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posted by Ace at 02:27 PM

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