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Saturday, May 10, 2008

In big concession, militia agrees to let Iraqi troops into Sadr City

The MSM will hail this as another stunning military victory for "Mookie" al-Sadr.

Here's how CNN covers it: Cease-fire reached in Baghdad's Sadr City, militants say

From ChinaView: Sadr group agrees to end fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City
With a subhead: Special report: Tension escalates in Iraq

The International Herald Tribune: Cease-fire deal reported in Sadr City

BAGHDAD: Iraq's government has agreed to a truce with the movement of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr to end weeks of clashes in Sadr City, both sides said Saturday.

The ceasefire could end fighting that has killed several hundred people and left the two million residents of the Sadr City section of Baghdad trapped in a battle zone.

"A deal has been made between the Sadr bloc and the United Iraqi Alliance to have a ceasefire," a Sadr spokesman, Salah al-Ubaidi, said in an interview. "The main aim of the deal is to solve the crisis in Sadr City."

From the Associated Press: Cleric spokesman: Cease-fire in Baghdad's Sadr City

BAGHDAD (AP) — Shiite militants agreed on a ceasefire in Baghdad's embattled neighborhood of Sadr City, an aide to a high level cleric said Saturday, holding out hope that weeks of clashes in the capital could be at an end.

Note that all of the reports take their perspective from the Sadr side. Not one of them reports it as a victory for the government of Iraq.

In fact, the AP reports that
"the agreement stipulates that 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 said a joint committee will observe the implementation of the agreement and any violations by either side.

"This document does not call for disbanding al-Mahdi Army or laying down their arms," al-Obeidi said, rejecting a previous call by al-Maliki.

It may be too early to paint this as a stunning defeat for the government, but rest assured that this spin will appear within hours.

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