Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Who Won the Fighting in Basra and Baghdad?

There were reports from the usual suspects that the Mighty Mahdi Army of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr had fought the Iraqi forces to a draw in Basra and had defied the demand from Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki that they put down their weapons. Time reported that the Mahdi Army won in Basra. That Moqtada al-Sadr then asked for a ceasefire tended to undercut that talking point. Austin Bay and Bill Roggio think al Sadr was losing. Now we hear this-- al-Sadr will disband the Mahdi Army if Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and other clerics in Iran tell him to. He's willing to order his fighters to put down their weapons and break up the band if told? Doesn't sound like he had the winning boy's mojo to me.

The masked gunmen in the photo are carrying Kalashnikov RPK light machine guns, a little more hard hitting than the plain old AKM 74s everyone else is using.

UPDATE: Allahpundit at Hot Air is reporting (and urging skepticism of the report) that al-Sadr was told, by the clerics he asked, not to disband his militia. I hope that's wrong.

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