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U.S. Targets Sadr’s Militia

Posted on Jan 23, 2007
Mehdi fighter

The U.S. military says a series of 52 operations over 45 days led to the capture of some 600 militants and 16 leaders of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. With some estimates placing the size of the Shiite militia at 60,000, that leaves only 59,384 to go.


The military said five of the Mehdi Army leaders were detained in the pro-Sadr bastion, Sadr City. One senior figure was killed in a raid.

“The detainees are responsible for attacks against the government of Iraq, Iraqi citizens and coalition forces,” the US military said.

“Criminal activities by these individuals propagated instability within Iraq and their removal from the social structure is a critical start to providing the Iraqi populace with a safe and stable environment.”

In addition, 33 Sunni extremist cell leaders were detained in Baghdad, the statement said.

The statement said they were “responsible for foreign fighter facilitation, car bomb facilitation, and propaganda operations”.

Correspondents say the Mehdi Army has up to 60,000 fighters.

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By mideast vet, January 24, 2007 at 6:34 am Link to this comment
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Gee, Frank, do you think that they got the right 600 leaders, organizers?  etc.  I highly doubt that they got all these guys in specific targeted operations instead of actually just going into a neighborhood and rounding every military age male up.  These numbers thrown at the media are eerily reminiscent of the early days of the war when Then 4th ID General Odierno was bragging about rounding up a hundred suspects here or there.  Isn’t it funny that he is not the assistant MNF commander in Iraq?  I also highly doubt that they suddenly rounded up 33 insurgent cell leaders in the last forty0five days.  Intelligence is a two way street and I remember signficantly rounding up so-called “insurgent leaders” when they turned out to be nothing more than victims of jealosy or a vendetta.

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By Rodney Matthews, January 23, 2007 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
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For everyone that we kill, there is another one we need to kill. As much as Bush would like to, we can’t kill every middle eastern man that doesn’t agree with with us or our policies. If our oil wasn’t under there sand we wouldn’t be there in the first place. WE’re not in Rawanda,Solmolia,Sudan, or any other country with civil war or a brutal dictator. Bush is a failure,his presidency is a failure,his legacy will be a failure. The day he and Cheney leave office will be a day of celebration not only for our nation, but the entire world as his policies has made the security of the entire world unstable. The only thing that Americans can take any comfort in is that we have a Democratic congress,he and Cheney only have two years left in office, and the American people finally realized what a farce and a sham this lying and lame duck egotistical maniac has been.

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By jon eden, January 23, 2007 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment
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response to Comment #49155 by Frank

We get rid of the Shiite power base and then….I hear the lunatics in Washington once again are dreaming of Chalabi after they finish undermining Maliki…..We are not going to mitigate a bloodbath in Iraq, borrowing a word from our pseudo Sec of State, we are going to augment the bloodbath. We continue to drive this disaster to ever greater heights, and we haven’t even played our Iran card yet…....Surely there must be some adults in Congress who are willing take a walk down Pennsylvania Ave and have a little heart attack talk with Mr. Bush the gist of which is: either knock it off or you and your buddy Dick are going to be out of here and it going to be quick.

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By John in Bear, January 23, 2007 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
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Pick an analogy.  Sadr City is about to become the next Falujah or Sadr City is about to be purged like the Warsaw Ghetto in WWII.  Either way the “surge” will be a brutal, needless disaster.  These pretextual captures are just a warm-up PR stunt.  Our Congress needs to get motivated and start the impeachment process while we still have a Nation.

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By John Earl, January 23, 2007 at 11:32 am Link to this comment
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Was it 60% or 70% of polled Iraqis that wouldn’t have minded if US soldiers took a bullet or were bombed?

Let’s see—there’re about seven million people in Baghdad…

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By jon eden, January 23, 2007 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
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Attacking the largest and most popular branch of the Iraq’s majority Shiite sect would not seem to be an exit strategy.

Jon Eden
Connecting the dots: From human behaviors to ecosystem collapse

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By Quy Tran, January 23, 2007 at 10:56 am Link to this comment
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Are they real SADR’s Militia or innocent people ?

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By Steve Hammons, January 23, 2007 at 9:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At this point in the Iraq War, it is questionable if any tactics can help, as many experts have said.

However, positive psychological operations (PSYOP) that have intelligent cultural components might have some good impact (if the job is not outsourced to incompetent political contributors to the administration).

Along these lines, the article below might shed some light on these kinds of ideas:

Modern consciousness research, World War II lessons combine to win hearts and minds, war and peace

Steve Hammons
American Chronicle
October 12, 2006

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By Frank, January 23, 2007 at 6:12 am Link to this comment
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“With some estimates placing the total size of the Shiite militia at 60,000, that only leaves 59,384 to go.”

Spoken like a military neophyte. The US and Iraqis don’t need to kill or capture the whole militia to achieve their goal. They only need to go after the small fraction who are the brains and leadership of the force. That forces the remaining leadership to reconsider their position in the interest of self preservation.

This operation apparently has already yielded significant results by pressuring Sadr back into participation with the Iraqi government, as he announced an end to his boycott this week.

Sadr knows if the majority of the skilled leaders, propagandists, and bombmakers are eliminated, the remainder of the force will likely fracture and become ineffectual, or disintegrate altogether and he will lose his power base. This is not simply theory, it has been the reality of warfare for thousands of years.

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By Att. Alfonso Alvarez Rodriguez, January 23, 2007 at 4:28 am Link to this comment
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Still we can capture all terrorist. This war is lost. One person is responsible, and only one: President Bush! We’re over 3,000 deaths. How many more does he wants. Bush also wants to take Iran, Siria, North Korea. He has gone mad!! I like to see him on the front line. I was back in 1964, in Vietnam. There are two things I cannot forget:Seeing my brothers butchered and our welcome parades!!

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