April 16, 2008


Iraqi commanders recalled after failed Basra mission (Mark Tran, 4/16/08, guardian.co.uk)

The Baghdad government today recalled the top military and police commanders in the southern city of Basra, after a botched offensive against Shia militias. [...]

[T]he statement did little to disguise the fact that the two men, who had won praise from US and British military leaders, had been kicked upstairs for an operation that not only failed to weaken militia fighters loyal to the radical cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, but triggered fighting that spread to other southern cities and Baghdad.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 16, 2008 4:43 PM

Well, there you go again with the Guardian. But then I read this:

"Residents say the streets have been cleared of gunmen, markets have reopened, basic services have been resumed and a measure of normality has returned to the oil-rich city.

The port of Umm Qasr is in the hands of the Iraqi forces who wrested control of the facility from Shiite militiamen, and according to the British military it is operational once again."

and I have to respectfully recommend that you read a little more widely on the subject.


Posted by: Rick T. at April 16, 2008 7:54 PM

Read is the news, not the opinion bits. If you read only the neocon advocacy sites you're narrowing, not widening.

Posted by: oj at April 16, 2008 8:52 PM

Guess I'll subscribe to the Guardian to get the real scoop, like some of my leftist acquaintences.

Posted by: Genecis at April 16, 2008 9:28 PM

Well, at least oj's going with alGuardian these days to support his claim that Sadr won.

Last week he had to dig deeper into the sewer and feed us from Mother Jones' teat.

Things have really quieted down since Sadr's man got gunned down last week. Odd that.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 16, 2008 10:49 PM

What everyone else said. Mookie's recent "victory" is either illusory or Pyrrhic. The government stumbled a bit and didn't get all they wanted, but Mookie lost more men, supplies, territory and popular support. The government forces will get better and stronger. The Sunnis, Kurds, and Maliki's Shiites are united in demanding that the "Madhi Army" disarm, meaning Mookie can be a politician but not a warlord or gangster. Sounds like national reconciliation to me.

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 16, 2008 11:28 PM

When you have to deny facts you've departed reality. Pick your favorite news source and the commanders will still have been removed. Or just read General Petraeus's testimony to Congress, though I suppose he could be part of the conspiracy...

Posted by: oj at April 17, 2008 6:12 AM

The fighting spread to other cities, where the victorious Sadrists all ended up dead. But maybe that's really a victory, since they always proclaim to prefer death.

Posted by: Peter at April 17, 2008 6:18 AM

If Mookie wore a railroad engineer's cap, OJ would swoon for him like he does for Sean Connery in stripes.

Mookie is in Iran. He is not in Iraq. Whether the 'battle' was a win, a loss, or a draw, he wasn't there. His brother-in-law was killed last week, most likely by somebody close to the police or army (or possibly by a more radical rival). Mookie won't be returning to Iraq any time soon.

And if he really does want to be a mini-Khomeini, a political force, then he has to drop the bunker model of Nasrallah. That sort of shtick can work in woeful Lebanon, but not in a parliamentary democracy. Unless Mookie yearns for the Iranian model (with the Supremo boss of bosses), which ain't happening in Iraq.

Posted by: ratbert at April 17, 2008 9:01 AM

OJ's right. Sadr's victory is the biggest thing since the VC won Tet.

Posted by: Fugate at April 17, 2008 9:21 AM

Mookie is in Iran earning his Ayatollahood so he can replace Sistani, which will make him one of the two or three most important figures in the world--arguably behind only the American President and the Pope.

Maliki had to call on us to save his troops, Iran to get the Sadrists to let up, and his commanders to take new jobs. It's exactly like Tet was for Johnson.

Posted by: oj at April 17, 2008 11:01 AM

And Sistani has joined with Maliki and the Sunnis and the Kurds in demanding that Mookie disarm the Madhi Army. What does that tell you?

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 17, 2008 4:23 PM

That Sistani too thinks he's ready to take on a religio-political role rather than a politico-military one.

Posted by: oj at April 17, 2008 5:52 PM