A two-pronged (at least) offensive is in progress- the top of the tree, the Quds Brigades Iranian meta-organisers are being pinched off; and at the bottom, the foot-soldiers of the Mahdi army are being rounded up wholesale and their unit commanders killed or taken out of the situation. At last! I would slightly criticise the US military middle-rankers and Pentagon brass for having taken so long to grasp this nettle, but I guess up til now the political situation demanded that Maliki's buddies in the Badr and Mahdi be given a loose rein. Not any more. The militias are rightly seen as the invisible armies keeping the Iraq situation white-hot, and providing cover for all the plain old thugs and criminals who make life absolute hell for many ordinary Iraqis.
We are definitely entering a new phase. Al-Qaeda have felt it necessary to mock the new offensives; that means it hurts and its working. Good.