The US and coalition forces are now focusing on eliminating Moqata Sadr’s Mahdi Army. Operation Resolute Sword (who comes up with these names?) is dedicated to break Sadr’s gangs that are terrorizing three Iraqi cities.
Meanwhile, operations against the much better-trained insurgents – likely the escaped members of the Special Republican Guard – continues in the Sunni Triangle cities of Fallujah and al-Ramadi.
The Mahdi Army is hardly an impressive fighting force. It’s a ragtag group of well-armed but untrained militants with AK-47s, mortars, and RPGs. It’s less a matter of taking them out than a matter of ensuring that we don’t hit innocent Iraqis along the way. However, between UCAVs like Predators and our other advanced weaponry, the Mahdi Army stands little chance of doing much damage in a direct confrontation with US forces. Our forces have been training for urban warfare for years, while most of the Mahdi Army are little more than thugs.
It’s interesting that Sadr’s group is called the Mahdi Army – it appears to be a reference to the Islamic legend of the Imam Mahdi – the Islamic “messiah” who would destroy the enemies of Islam and leave the world united as one ummah with Mahdi as a supreme Caliph.
I somehow doubt that Sadr’s hopes of being the Imam Mahdi have much chance of coming true at this point…