Subscribe Twitter

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Iraqis rising against Iranian militias

Washington Times:
Iraqi militias feeling pushback

Tribal leaders in southern Iraq are starting to push back against Iranian-supported militias in Basra, cracking their hold over the economically crucial province, Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker said yesterday at two separate roundtable interviews with reporters.

The militia led by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr "is something that has to be dealt with," said Gen. Petraeus at a meeting with reporters at the Pentagon.

"The population has turned against the militia in most areas in Basra. Interestingly, it has turned against them in a number of areas in Baghdad as well," the top U.S. commander in Iraq said, though he cautioned that turning against the militias does not necessarily mean that the population "will act on it."

Mr. Crocker said he had returned from a recent visit "sobered by the extent ... the militias had free rein in Basra."

The U.S. envoy added that he got "an earful" of complaints from southern sheiks about the behavior of the militias, who are believed to be influenced and supplied by Iran.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki "tapped into this" frustration and the Iraqis now are "standing up tribal lines as contract security forces" to help battle the Shi'ite militias, Mr. Crocker said, although he did not say whether these tribal forces had participated in the battles in Basra in the last two weeks.

Meanwhile, in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, gunmen yesterday killed a senior aide to Sheik al-Sadr, a pro-Iran cleric who nominally controls militias from Basra to Baghdad that are clashing with U.S. and coalition forces.

The aide, Riyadh al-Nouri, was killed as he drove home after attending prayers. Authorities in Najaf immediately announced a citywide curfew and deployed security forces on the streets, the Associated Press reported.

other news
Petraeus' 'Anaconda'
The Anaconda chart is a complex graphic that depicts an intricate, multidimensional war. It's tough to describe even with a copy in front of you. However, the strategic concept behind Gen. Petraeus' chart (titled "Anaconda Strategy versus al Qaeda in Iraq") is dirt simple: Squeeze and keep squeezing.

A commercial artist would certainly describe the chart as "too busy," but war isn't an exercise in aesthetics.

The Anaconda Strategy identifies six routes of attack on al Qaeda in Iraq:

(1) Kinetics (which includes combat).

(2) Politics (which includes countering ethno-sectarian pressures and Iraqi political reconciliation).

(3) Intelligence (operations from air recon to intel assessment).

(4) Detainee ops (which includes counterinsurgency in detention facilities).