Moqtada al-Sadr bravely runs away to Iran, once again.

JAM continues to break apart into rival factions. Al-Sadr’s venture into politics caused splits in his movement as hardliners, moderates and cirminals went their independent ways.

Bill Roggio reports of Mookies’s latest exploits.

Sadr’s Mahdi Army fractured into a radical Iranian backed element of about 3,000 fighters, and the “Noble Mahdi Army,” which has been working with the Iraqi government and Coalition forces. This was part of a year-long campaign to divide the Mahdi Army. Sadr lost control of the Mahdi Army when he fled Iraq with his paymasters and senior leaders, leaving the militia rudderless and without pay.

Many Mahdi Militiamen are little more than religious and criminal gangs among the urban poor. They are decentralized so there is no coherent command and control center. The “Noble Mahdis” have been assassinating commanders of rogue Mahdi gangs. Other JAM groups are running their personal crime rings around Basra and other southern cities. The criminals are a wildcard. They care too much about money to be militants and insurgents, but they are obviously threatening to legitimate government.

As a political party, JAM have not done well.

-They made up a small faction of the ruling party. Sadr ordered a boycott in parliament, but the government did not fall. JAMs 30 representatives and 6 cabinet members left without ending the governing coalition.

-Al-Sadr tried to organize massive protest rallies against the US and Sunnis. He failed to rally a million. Only 15,000 gathered at one rally and the last one was cancelled.

-JAM is opposed by the SIIC party (formerly SCIRI) and their Badr Brigade militias. This limits their political traction and recruiting.

-Al-Sadr constantly running away to Iran does not improve his image as an Iraqi nationalist. Or as a brave commander, for that matter.

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