Mahdi Stronghold Taken Without Firing a Shot (UPDATED)

Much to the MSM’s dismay and subsequent silence.

They came at dawn, thousands of Iraqi troops and US special forces on a mission to reclaim a lawless city from the militias who ran it.

By the end of the day, al-Amarah was under Iraqi Government control – without a shot being fired.

The city had been taken over by the Shia al-Mahdi Army two years ago after British troops handed it to an ill-prepared Iraqi Army. “We can’t say al-Amarah was entirely bad, there are good people here, poor people. But the city was controlled by the al-Mahdi Army, and these people are all backed by Iran,” said Captain Hussein Ali of the Scorpion police brigade, one of the Iraqi units drafted in to take part in Operation Omen of Peace.

Yesterday the city’s streets – unpaved, dirt tracks between grubby, low brick houses – were crawling with Iraqi security forces. Soldiers searched houses as police manned checkpoints and Soviet-era tanks guarded bridges over the Tigris River.

The flood of troops, who had moved into position outside the city a week ago, had encountered no resistance as they moved in yesterday. The leaders of the Shia militias that once ruled as crime bosses and warlords were either gone or in hiding. Even the police chief fled a week ago, fearing arrest for his affiliation to al-Mahdi Army, while the mayor, a member of the Sadrist movement, was arrested.

The locals recount Iran’s participation:

……Nabil Ibrahim, 20, an al-Amarah resident, was pleased to see the influx of government troops but upset that the men who had turned his city into a lawless no man’s land had escaped. “The leaders who escaped aren’t all al-Mahdi Army, they are Iranian intelligence agents. We are sad because they got away and they’ll be back.”

The extent to which neighboring countries including Iran and Syria, have contributed to the bloodshed with the infiltration of terrorist cells, is largely ignored by the media.

The good news is, they get introduced to allah as fast as their Mahdi counterparts.

Update from Bill Roggio:

By Bill RoggioJune 26, 2008 2:53 PM

Muqtada al Sadr.

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.

Gee, and to think the MSM did their level damndest to spin Basra as a Mahdi ‘victory’.

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