Short and linky tonight. Just read this excellent article over at Michael Totten's site about the history and current status of the infamous Shiite slum in Northeastern Baghdad. It is yet another in a swiftly-growing list of stories which highlight the subtle intelligence (in both senses) utilized by the US military in its COIN operations, as well as the breadth and depth of the positive changes taking place in Iraqi society as a result.
The Mahdi Army and its Iranian Quds Force enablers are going to have a hard time of it in their old stomping grounds, by all appearances. For one thing, it is increasingly clear that the valor and professionalism of the US military has rubbed off on their Iraqi proteges. For another, the citizenry of Sadr City and environs are seeing for themselves how their lives have improved under American and Iraqi protection. This is not a thing easily forgotten.
A nice tonic to end the day. If you agree, do consider dropping a little something in Michael's tip jar (scroll to bottom of post); his caliber of journalism is a lamentably rare thing these days, and it's impossible to encompass an environment as complex as Iraq without people telling these stories.