Iraqi Gov. Purging Basra Strongholds

-Posted by D. Worth (US) for- M. Barbay (France)
Update: instapundit has AUDIO from Michael Yon (Iraq)

Update: Deadline extended (so. city, Basra) Op. Knights' Assault
Armed outlaw Militants encouraged to Handover Arms at security sites Now until April 8th. They will be rewarded financially. #

Iraqi Basra police shed uniforms, kept rifles, & switched sides
Seems UK Times was right there, on hand, to catch the entire development
And Timesonline says this: "If the British taught the police to shoot straight, they failed to instill a sense of unwavering loyalty to the State." Media Slap!

And then UK Times reports: Abu Iman barely flinched when the Iraqi Government ordered his unit of special police to move against al-Mahdi Army fighters in Basra.

“We know the outcome of the fighting in advance because we already defeated the British in the streets of Basra and forced them to withdraw to their base,” Abu Iman told The Times. Media Slap!

UPDATE: Iran Backing Sadr Revolt in Iraq
"They also said an infusion of cash, also from Iran, helped the militia set up new command centers equipped with Internet-linked computers, fax machines and satellite mobile phones. They have also received global positioning system devices, they said.

The tensions have spilled over into street battles in Basra between Mahdi fighters and Iraqi government forces. Fighting also has flared in other cities across southern Iraq's Shiite heartland — where Iran is hedging its bets by supporting factions of the Mahdi Army and its main Shiite rival. Read more.

Rantburg has More Media Slap! From UK Timesonline)
Basra crisis leaves British withdrawal in ruins
Analysis: Britain must now fight or fail
Iraqi troops take on Shia militia in Basra clash

Sounds Like the method Iran & Syria used in Lebanon:
Mahdi Army commanders have told the AP that the militia has recently taken delivery of new weapons supplied by backers in Iran. The arsenal, they said, included roadside bombs, anti-aircraft guns and Soviet-designed Grad rockets.

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