Sunday, May 11, 2008


You may (or given our media, may not) have heard that there has been a major battle going on inside Baghdad. U.S. troops ... and oh yeah, Iraq military ... have "surrounded" Sadr City and have been attacking regularly inflicting a whole lot of casualties among the 2+ million residents.

It appears the Iraqi government and al Sadr have reached a new "agreement" for a ceasefire. Juan Cole summarizes:

The al-Maliki government and the Sadrists pulled back from the brink in Sadr City on Saturday. PM Nuri al-Maliki had demanded that the Mahdi Army militia that serves as the Sadrist paramilitary give up its arms and dissolve itself. The compromise simply states that the Iraqi security forces would be allowed in to Sadr City to search for suspected medium and heavy weapons. The implication is that the Mahdi Army may continue to exist and may keep its light weapons (e.g. AK-47s), though it has to pledge not to walk with them in public.

The siege of Sadr City is to be lifted and the major roads in and out of it are to be unblocked, according to the agreement.
Ok. I'm sure the Mahdi militiamen will all hand over their large weapons. Right.

But this is the key graf in Cole's description:
Reading news about Iraq is like watching Bill Murray's 'Groundhog Day' in which you have to live through the same day over and over again. So the US and Iraqi governments have announced a new campaign against Sunni radicals in Ninevah province, especially Mosul. Take a look at this article, published late last January: "Thousands of Iraqi army soldiers reached the northern city of Mosul on Sunday in preparation for what the government said would be a major offensive there against Al-Qaeda in Iraq, along with other Sunni militants."

You have a sinking feeling that al-Maliki is recycling old announcements in a futile attempt to distract the public from his climb-down in Sadr City. Al-Maliki left for Mosul Saturday along with a few cabinet members and close advisers. Curfews have been announced in some Mosul neighborhoods.
Or rather as I like to say, lather, rinse, repeat. And the war goes on and on and on.

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