Following up on their success in Basra, the Iraqi army has now moved to begin to disrupt operations of the Iranian Qods force that has been operating inside Iraq. This is according to Bill Roggio who is recently back from Iraq:
Slowly but surely, the Iraqis are taking the lead in these operations. Just as heartening is the workmanlike way in which these operations are being carried out. They are apparently meeting with some success in ferreting out Mahdi fighters and interdicting supplies from Iran.
The Iraqi Army has been expanding its operations along the Iranian supply routes in the South during the month of May. After clearing the Mahdi Army and other Iranian-backed militias from Basrah, operations have expanded into Az Zubayr and Al Qurnah.
Iraqi troops from the 1st Iraqi Army Division entered Az Zubayr on May 25. Az Zubayr, which is just southeast of Basrah, sits at the crossroads to Nasariyah, a tactical distribution hub for Iranian weapons. Mahdi Army Special groups would pass through Az Zubayr as they moved weapons from Iran to Basrah to Nasariyah. Iraqi Special Operations Forces captured a Special Groups financier and weapons smuggler in Az Zubayr on May 21. An operation was conducted by Iraqi security forces in the city of Al Qurnah, which is about 50 miles north of Basrah, on May 13. Multinational Forces Iraq described the move into Al Qurnah as "a new phase of operation " that "continues the process of targeting criminal elements by the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Security Forces as strongholds previously dominated by criminal militias fall."
Al Qurnah is one of several strategic distribution hubs for Iranian-made weapons, such as rockets, mortars, and the deadly explosively formed projectile roadside bombs. Weapons flow across the border from Majnun in Iran to Al Qurnah. These weapons are warehoused in Qurnah and distributed to forward locations to conduct attacks against Iraqi security forces and Iraqi officials, and Coalition forces.
And the operation in Sadr City continues as the Iraqi army has now penetrated the entire slum and is confiscating weapons and arresting suspects. Americans are on the periphery of the fight which means that the Iraqi army is taking the lead here also.
The chaos and fighting that just two short months ago dominated life in Basra has disappeared, replaced by peace and a relative feeling of security. The government appears to be getting credit for the change which is good news for the politicians who have to run in this October's elections.