Those of us that fought in Iraq are well aware of the potent militia force, known at the time as the Mahdi Army, controlled by the Iraqi Shiite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Al-Sadr is a leading Shiite figure in Iraq and controls a militia with tens of thousands of fighters. He is also viewed as the leader of Iran’s proxy force inside of Iraq. Al-Sadr’s fighters at one point during the Iraq War became one of the most potent enemies facing America and inflicted a considerable amount of casualties on the US. Now al-Sadr is calling again for his followers to attack US forces in Iraq “fighting” ISIL. His call for war against the “American Occupiers” signals an ominous policy change in Iraq that will result in dead Americans and could trigger another full scale war with the US. (See: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-usa-idUSKCN0ZX0XL )
Al-Sadr’s instructions to attack US troops in Iraq will not go unanswered by his followers. Unlike other groups in Iraq, al-Sadr’s militia is motivated and well-armed, trained, and equipped. Further, they are battle hardened from almost two decades of combat and have a proven record of killing US troops. Note that they have also proven they have the ability to overrun Baghdad’s Green Zone where the US Embassy is located. (See: http://popularmilitary.com/iraq-declares-state-of-emergency-after-green-zone-overrun/) Should al-Sadr decide to target Americans there, his forces certainly could bring US facilities under heavy bombardment or direct attack. Shiites also compose large portions of the Iraqi military, which now may turn on their American advisors. I can discuss for days why al-Sadr ordered the attacks, but suffice to say the US has now found itself in a predictably bad position that will soon be untenable if indeed the US is now being targeted by both Sunnis and Shias (everyone) in Iraq minus the Kurds.
As usual, I warned, years in advance and in finite detail, of precisely how this problem would arise from Sadr’s Shia militia. I spoke in detail of how Obama’s “strategy” was not just absolutely incompetent, but it wasn’t even a strategy. Obama’s “strategy,” much like what Hillary Clinton is currently touting as “her” strategy, was a list of goals and no way to achieve them. I even detailed how it would progress. After their “limited” air war against ISIL failed, they would attempt to train and advise more Iraqi forces and it would also fail miserably. Then, facing imminent defeat, they would have to finally put “boots on the ground.” Of course the hypocrite Obama promised the American people repeatedly he would “never put boots on the ground.” Sadly, my predictions amounted to a sole voice drowned out by incompetent media pundits, Washington think tanks, and beltway insiders. In fact, my series of articles from 2014 have proven to be highly predictive of exactly the situation we find ourselves in today and is a must read if you are even remotely interested in how this ends. (Read it here: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/10/01/islamic-extremism-and-what-lies-ahead-part-ii-the-war-on-isis-and-syria/ )
To understand what is happening, you have to understand the ground in Iraq. Before the US re-entered Iraq to “fight ISIL,” I warned that the US had in fact never defeated Iraq and retreated leaving the insurgency intact with thousands of fighters. We left Iraq entirely hostile. This meant that any return of the US military in sizeable numbers to Iraq would trigger attacks even if Washington wanted to believe their false narrative of “success” in Iraq. I specifically said that if we redeployed forces to Iraq to fight ISIL, it wouldn’t be long before both the Shia and Sunni forces turned their guns on the Americans and specifically called out Sadr’s Shia militiamen. It now appears with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s announcement of over 500 more troops heading to Iraq we have rediscovered this reality.
In summary, everyone should be taking Moqtada al-Sadr’s threat seriously. I believe the US has crossed a tolerance threshold of the Iraqis for occupation and now things will start to get noticeably worse. Why al-Sadr wasn’t targeted and killed by a US strike can only be explained by incompetence and corruption in Washington. He is no friend of America. His forces have killed and wounded hundreds if not thousands of Americans. Leaving him alive will certainly be looked at as a major US mistake by historians. Nonetheless, al-Sadr is still on the streets preaching his brand of radical Islam and hate against the US with tens of thousands of followers. His call for attacks will be followed and the relative security our forces have enjoyed in Iraq over the last year will be shattered. This has the potential to completely force the US out of Iraq for good or force the US to redeploy a large military force to Iraq, which will trigger a repeat of the costly, foolish, and unsuccessful previous war in Iraq.
By Guiles Hendrik
July 21, 2016