It is the conventional wisdom that we made a big mistake not taking out Moqtada al Sadr the first time he poked his head up and had his guys shooting at us. We tap danced around the Mahdi Army and it's control over far too many Shia in Sadr City and elsewhere for far too long. Mookie, or his handlers, was bright enough not to engage us in direct combat, but he and the militias have remained a festering wound impeding the Iraqi government and security forces from achieving full maturity.
This was a failure at many levels, but I believe primarily a misunderstanding of the "Big Man" power dynamic in the Arab world. Mookie is a complete muppet at the practical level, uneducated, coarse and incapable of really accomplishing anything. But his name made him a big man, and his support from Iran gave him money, guns and power so the people feared and even respected him. He could deliver.
Then he stood up to the invading Americans and the infidels caved. What a fundamental error in judgment. Somehwhere the decision was made that Mookie would have become a martyr and that would have rallied the Shia to resist us. I agree this is a concern, but Mookie was not a revered religious leader, he is a common thug with a big name. Taking him out would have shown that we will not tolerate either organic or foreign-controlled insurgencies in Iraq. Instead we backed off and Mookie became a "Bigger Man".
I believe we have seen the error there, but the Iraqi government certainly has and Maliki has been stomping on Mookie quite nicely over the past months. The past few times the Mahdis have started dancing around in the streets spewing Iranian ammo and explosives around, the government has responded with a heavy dose of scunion powder. It has been an Iraqi-led offensive and it looks they are finishing up cleaning out the rat holes now. An AP piece that doesn't scream of bias, what's up with that?
BAGHDAD - Iraqi soldiers for the first time warned residents in the embattled Sadr City district to leave their houses Thursday, signaling a new push by the U.S.-backed forces against Shiite extremist who have been waging street battles for seven weeks.
Iraqi soldiers, using loudspeakers, told residents in some virtually abandoned areas of southeastern Sadr City to go to nearby soccer stadiums, residents said.UNICEF says about 6,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Sadr City, most of them from the southeastern section.
Hope the Mook enjoys his studies in Iran, 'cuz his days as a big man in Baghdad are over.