I was watching (while holding my nose) some punditry last night when one of the retired generals discussed the new tactics to be used in Baghdad. Apparently the plan is to put the "alamo's"
in western Baghdad where the neighborhoods are mixed Sunni/Shia. This general casually dismissed Sadr City (western Baghdad) as the problem of the Iraqi military. Ah huh.
That fits nicely with this bit of news:
US forces have captured some 600 Mahdi Army militiamen since the current push against guerrilla violence began.
Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that leaders of the Mahdi Army are saying they will not retaliate for the arrests. Baha' al-A'raji, a Sadrist MP, said that the followers of young Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr would not stand against the Baghdad security plan.
That's nice. Al Sadr can use the American's to clean up his recalcitrant members who refuse to lay low as per plan.
I really think al Maliki's strategy is clear. Get al Sadr to cool it and lay low for awhile while the American's, with Shia militia/Iraq military (they're one and the same) beat the crap out of the Sunni's. And it might work for awhile. But if the Sunni's begin to look beaten, watch for the Saudi's to get more involved along with all our old buddies like Jordan and Egypt.
Ironically under this strategy, the outcome is the same .... a Shiite theocracy remains in control in Iraq under the umbrella of Iran.