Stepping up the assault on the Iraqi city of Diwaniya, believed to be a stronghold of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, US occupation forces launched an air strike on a supposed safehouse April 7. At least six people, including two women and a child, were killed by a missile fired into their home from a US warplane. Mahdi Army fighters reportedly returned fire with rocket-propelled grenades. The operation dubbed “Black Eagle” was launched the previous morning, aimed at disrupting the Mahdi Army’s position in the city and within the local police force—which has been ordered to stay off the streets during the operation. US Col. Michael Garrett, who is leading the operation, said that joint US-Iraqi security bases will be set up inside the city, to permanently deter the Mahdi Army. (Arab Monitor, April 7; LAT, April 8).
This appears to be another sign of the tilt back to Sunnis, which has been overdue for some time.