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May 12, 2008

Time Magazine Declares Sadr Capitualition as "Win[ning] Another Round"

I had joked that the media would portray Sadr's latest defeat as a victory . I have to tell you I didn't really believe that. I was being hyperbolic. There was no way they could spin a near-complete surrender as a victory.

I was wrong.

Al-Sadr Wins Another Round

By MARK KUKIS/BAGHDAD Sun May 11, 10:35 AM ET

For the first time in weeks Sadr City saw no fighting Sunday, day one of yet another hastily brokered cease-fire between U.S.-backed Iraqi forces and the Shi'ite Mahdi Army militia.

Word of the pact emerged Saturday night, when an aide to Mahdi Army leader Muqtada al-Sadr said a deal had been reached to end roughly two months of street fighting in eastern Baghdad. Soon afterward, U.S. and Iraqi officials endorsed the agreement, which came as Iraqi forces working with U.S. troops were signaling plans for a new push to break from areas where they had remained stuck for weeks. Details of the cease-fire remain largely unclear beyond an immediate end to the battles that have displaced thousands of residents from the Mahdi Army stronghold of Sadr City, a vast slum home to more than 2 million people.

In announcing the deal, al-Sadr aide Sheik Salah al-Obeidi said the agreement, "stipulates that the Mahdi Army will stop fighting in Sadr City and will stop displaying arms in public. In return, the government will stop random raids against al-Sadr followers and open all closed roads that lead to Sadr City."

Al-Obeidi, who issued a statement from the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, added: "This document does not call for disbanding al-Mahdi Army or laying down their arms."

The fact that a leading figure in al-Sadr's ranks announced the deal and pointedly rejected the Iraqi government's key demand to disarm suggests that the cleric is still controlling the agenda tactically and politically...

Actually, it suggests nothing of the sort. It suggest the opposite, in fact. It suggests that a group which just capitulated to Iraqi security forces patroling Sadr city for the first time ever is trying to spin the surrender as a victory.

Who would fall for such a ruse?

Time Magazine, naturally.

Furthermore, Time Magazine takes Sadrist propagandists' explanation of the details of the agreement as presumptively true.

Based on these two thin reeds -- Sadr actually said something about the deal, Sadr and his minions claim the deal says x -- Time Magazine feels it has enough information to declare victory on behalf of al Sadr.

The NYT, meanwhile, actually admits success in Basra, on page one.

Thanks to CJ, Via LGF.

Flaky Internet: I'm having a hell of a time connecting. The internet is going in and out. I've been without a connection throughout the morning.


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posted by Ace at 12:51 PM

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