I seem to be obsessed with war news these days. Kind of a morbid fascination. In any case, US forces in Iraq have some how managed to get a group of insurgents to stand up and fight. As usual under such circumstances the insurgents are taking a beating.

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) – U.S. and Iraqi forces killed some 250 gunmen from an apocalyptic Muslim cult on Sunday in a battle involving U.S. tanks and aircraft near the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf, Iraqi police, army and political sources said.
Two Americans were killed, the U.S. military said, when an attack helicopter went down during the day-long battle in what was one of the strangest incidents of the four-year conflict. Iraqi officials said the helicopter seemed to be shot down.
According to one Iraqi political source, hundreds of fighters drawn from both Sunni and Shi’ite communities were still fighting. A Reuters reporter at the scene, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, saw U.S. tanks and heard blasts after dark and an Iraqi officer said F-16 jets were bombing the area.
Details of the day’s fighting were sketchy and the origins of the fighters unclear. An Iraqi army source said some of the dead wore headbands declaring themselves a “Soldier of Heaven.”
The governor of Najaf province said the group had gathered in orchards near the city and had been planning to attack the main Shi’ite clerical leadership on Monday. It is the climax of the annual Shi’ite rite of Ashura, marking a 7th century battle which entrenched the schism between Shi’ite and Sunni Islam.

Given that the usual battles against insurgents only kill a few at a time, the death of 250 or more has to mark a turning point.
Normally guerillas do not stand and fight. As this fight shows it is not to their advantage. Worse, is to fight in the open. They must have been in a very bad position to get into a situation where all they could do is go down fighting.
It is possible that the troop surge is having an effect. Not necessisarily beneficial to the anti-government forces.
Cross Posted at Power and Control