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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Monday, January 29, 2007

Death of a Mahdi

In Arabic, "Mahdi" means "Messiah." The words are directly cognate and the second is a Greek attempt at transliteration of the first. People of the region encompassing the Arabian Peninsula and the Fertile Crescent have been looking for one for at least three thousand years.

Of course, there can be only one -- an idea that's lost on muslims.

The real one died on a cross about two thousand years ago.

But that is not the topic of this post. Since Shi'a and Sunni separated following the death of Mohammed, the Shi'a have had (at least) dozens of Mahdi. One died of typhus a few years before Lord Kitchener's army tore his troops apart with machine guns at Omdurman in 1898 (where Winston Churchill won his first fame).

Another died on January 28th, apparently at the hands of Iraqi infantry, supported by US helicopters, tanks, and (most effectively, of course) aircraft.

The fact that the Iraqi Army can dispose of extraneous Mahdi is tesimony to the improvement in their capabilities, but you won't hear that in the mainstream media. There, you'll only hear that an American helicopter was shot down and two Americans were killed -- just as you would have heard from them as they were stabbing the US military in the back during Vietnam.

This also shows that the US and Iraqi governments are making some progress in counterinsurgency, although I was hoping they'd go after Sunni insurgents first, especially with the Shi'ite holiday of Ashura coming up so soon. It sounds as if Iraqi and US forces encountered both, but the Mahdi's army lost most of its fighting strength -- around 600. Good job, boys -- both Iraqi and American


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