Here’s a piece of bad news masquerading as good news:
Iraqi security forces met little resistance Thursday on Day 1 of the government’s crackdown in the southern city of Amarah as they sought to disarm gunmen loyal to the militant Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr.
Iraqi defense officials said there were no casualties or gun battles as military and national police units easily spread through northern Amarah, a mostly Shiite oil and agricultural city that borders Iran and for decades has served as a smuggling hub.
The thing is, the fact that Maliki’s army has faced no serious opposition in its operations in Mosul and Amara doesn’t mean that no opposition exists. It means Sunni insurgents, foreign terrorists and Sadr’s fighters have just decided to wait for another day. And it means we have yet to see how the Iraqi Army will perform in real combat, not these simulated exercises.