The good news is that American and Iraqi special forces have started to crack down on the Mahdi Army, Moqtada al-Sadr’s militia/death squad. Sixteen of Moqtada’s troops were killed in a raid in a Sunni neighborhood of Baghdad; a hostage was freed in the raid, which found bomb-making equipment.
The bad news is that, with Sadr controlling 30 votes in the Iraqi Parliament, no Iraqi political leader is prepared to stand behind the operation. The Transportation Minister calls it “a crime” and says “I think we are going to have a firm stance against the American forces because of this crime.” The interim Prime Minister, who needs Sadrist votes to keep his job, waffles in public while his spinmeisters put out the word that the government wasn’t consulted in advance and that “The incident has injured the whole political process.”
I hope the business about not consulting first is a lie. Cracking down on sectarian warfare is vital, but the precedent of the Iraqi military acting without reference to the civilian political structure would be a very bad one to set.
No word yet on who was responsible for the thirty fresh headless corpses found together in Baghdad Sunday.