April 28 , 2008: After a month of fighting, the Mahdi Army has disappeared from the streets of Basra, the largest city in the south. The army and police are everywhere, and people are providing information on where Mahdi Army personnel are hiding out, and the locations of their weapons caches. Up north, in the Sadr City section of east Baghdad, the Mahdi Army is still fighting hard. But the army and police have the upper hand, and are pushing the Shia militiamen back block by block. Mahdi Army leader Muqtada al Sadr has responded by threatening to order his men to go after American troops if the government does not back off. That's won't work, because the Mahdi Army is not particularly skillful, and not very united either.Despite the gloom and doom picture painted in the American mainstream press, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's confrontation with the Mahdi Army is turning out rather well.