No Al Qaeda down south in Basrah, but plenty of trouble. For years, a small sub-group of Iraq experts have been warning that rivalries amongst the Shi’ites could provoke more violence than the more publicized Sunni-Shi’ite dispute. This particular battle could have a major impact on who the ultimate “winner” is in Iraq. If Sadr wins, he’ll have control of Baghdad and the southern oil fields, which will make him the de facto leader of Shi’ite Iraq.
Oh, and one other thing: There is no credible role for the U.S. military in this dispute… which, as the foreign fighter threat recedes across the country, will be increasingly true of Iraq in general.