The Mahdi Army uprising was proof that The Surge did not create a Pax-Americana in Iraq. The American military was taking credit for the restraint of Muqtada al-Sadr but it was not the cause of that restraint. Iraq is a patchwork of competing militias of which the US Army is just another militia.
The Peshmerga is the armed force of Kurdistan. Maybe as large as 400,000 soldiers, they are loyal only to the Kurds, and are engaged in ongoing skirmishes with Turkey.
The Mahdi Army has about 50,000 fighters. They lack the central command structure of the Peshmerga and are ruled by regional warlords. They pledge loyalty to al-Sadr. The Mahdi Army is armed by the civilian government of Iran.
The Badr Corps has about 40,000 fighters and is the militia backing for the current Iraqi ruling parties. They are also the branch of the Iranian Qods Force inside Iraq.
The Awakening Councils are United States Army armed Sunni militias, maybe 80,000 fighters. While officially formed to fight al Qaeda their true purpose is to defend Sunni communities from the Shi'ite militias and the regular Iraqi army.
The Iraqi army and police force is officially 600,000 strong but individual units are controlled by different Shi'ite militias. As such, they tend to fight only when their opponent is from a different sect or a different militia.
American Military Deaths
1st quarter 2008 .... 107
4th quarter 2007 .... 98
War Total .......... 4,013
tag: Iraq, War