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More "rare success" in Iraq (Update)
Posted by: McQ on Monday, May 12, 2008

Nothing particularly new here, except perhaps Stephan Farrell's somewhat obvious bias:
Three hundred miles south of Baghdad, the oil-saturated city of Basra has been transformed by its own surge, now seven weeks old.

In a rare success, forces loyal to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki have largely quieted the city, to the initial surprise and growing delight of many inhabitants who only a month ago shuddered under deadly clashes between Iraqi troops and Shiite militias.
Rare success? It was the second of three operations Maliki has undertaken (the first being in the Sunni area near Anbar), all of which have been successful, at least to this point.

Farrell notes that the Basra operation was "poorly planned and ill-coordinated" and that al-Sadr and the boys made fun of the name (Charge of the Knights) of the operation, calling it "Charge of the Mice".

Yet, the operation begun in March and continuing to this day has the ISF in charge of the streets of Basra and the Mahdi army nowhere to be found. As we've pointed out in post and podcast, for most military observers, it isn't how you gained control of the streets that's important, but rather that you own them that makes you a 'victor'. The ISF owns the streets in Basra.

And in what I assume would be labeled another "rare success", the Mahdi Army is backing off in Sadr City, a suburb of Baghdad, as well.
“The ground has changed for them,” said Jalaluddin al-Sagheer, a member of Parliament from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a rival party to the Sadrists. “They are suffering a lot of losses and defeats, and they are politically isolated.”

Conversely, he added, “there is national, political unity” coalescing behind the government.
So we have Maliki winning both militarily and politically against Sadr and a developing "national, political unity". But for the NYT, that's not good enough.

Because, you know, such optimism goes against the established narrative. Move along citizen - nothing to see here. Move along.

UPDATE: Ed Morrisey on the NYT coverage.
 
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When applied to Iraq “rare success” is a literary device something like an Homeric epithet. It’s an aid to memorization, a substitute for thinking, and a way of padding the output.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
... forces loyal to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki ...
That’s a rather strange way to describe the ISF. Does that make the U.S. Military "forces loyal to President George W. Bush"? Are the British forces now those who are "loyal to PM Gordon Brown"?

Silly me, I would have thought you’d describe those forces as "loyal to [home country]" but what do I know, I’m not a journalist.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
real progress would be if they just secretly killed sadar and totally disarmed the militia.
 
Written By: slntax
URL: http://
Silly me, I would have thought you’d describe those forces as "loyal to [home country]" but what do I know, I’m not a journalist.
As you recognize, it’s a rhetorical device to delegitimize the ISF and make it no different than the Sadarist militia. I’m not sure why anyone would expect anything less from the NYT.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Erb? Are you there? How does crow taste?
 
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
*channeling Erb*

You silly wingers, Maliki is nothing but a puppet of the sooper-genius Iranians, so it’s still all doom! quagmire! defeat! despair! The notion that America can actually accomplish anything positive whatsoever in the Middle East does not exist in my reality and no evidence to the contrary will be allowed to impinge on my consciousness.

So there!

/Erb
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
As you recognize, it’s a rhetorical device to delegitimize the ISF and make it no different than the Sadarist militia. I’m not sure why anyone would expect anything less from the NYT.
Yeah, well, after all the work the MSM put into the "civil war" narrative it would be such a waste to abandon it now.

Just think, they would have gotten away with it too, if weren’t for those meddling facts!
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Erb? Are you there?
I have ceased to comment here, though will read it now and then. I need to spend a lot of time on my research now, which involves blogs and new media. Again, I appreciate what I’ve learned reading all your perspectives over the last year or so.

However, you can get my take on things through my blog, which does now allow commentary: http://scotterb.wordpress.com.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Al-Sadr Wins Another Round

Now I know I will never re-subscribe to Time. They’ve destroyed an American icon.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
The major points of the agreement, based on press reports, are as follows:

• The Iraqi government and the Mahdi Army would observe a four-day cease-fire.
• At the end of the cease-fire, Iraqi forces would be allowed to enter Sadr City and conduct arrests if warrants have been issued, or if the Mahdi Army is in possession of medium or heavy weapons (rocket-propelled grenades, rockets, mortars).
The Mahdi Army and the Sadrist bloc must recognize the Iraqi government has control over the security situation and has the authority to move security forces to impose the law.
• The Mahdi Army would end all attacks, including mortar and rockets strikes against the International Zone.
• The Mahdi Army must clear Sadr City of roadside bombs.
• The Mahdi Army must close all "illegal courthouses."
• The Iraqi government would reopen the entrances to Sadr City.
• The Iraqi government would provide humanitarian aid to the residents of Sadr City.
Given the 3rd point, I have no idea how Time could call this Al-Sadr Wins Another Round.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
As you can see from the above message, we have managed to access the termination routine for the rogue Emotionless Robotic Bloviator, V4 (ERB-4) program that was still running on one of our network machines. The termination routine generates a generic message indicating that it will no longer be posting. (See the comments here for history on this problem.)

We had frozen the program a couple of weeks ago to prevent further output, and now have terminated that instance entirely. We hope this will relieve QandO commenters of the incessant drivel that the ERB-4 program was beginning to output.

However, the program seems to have evolved some interesting deployment mechanisms and is very good at hiding in our systems, so it’s possible that a dormant copy will spring up in the future.

We have also halted the Ott Scerb program because there was no further ability to parody ERB-4 output. However, if a rogue ERB-4 does re-appear, we have Ott Scerb ready to load again.

My apologies again to QandO commenters, especially those who were fooled by our Turing experiment into believing that ERB-4 was a real human commenter. I think most of you realized because of the repetitive nature of the postings and the lack of coherence in the arguments that ERB-4 was not human, but some who only say ERB-4 briefly many not have realized it.

Justin Case
Director, Turing Studies
Teacher Replacement Lab
University of Maine
 
Written By: Justin Case
URL: http://teacherreplacementlab.maine.edu
So we have Maliki winning both militarily and politically against Sadr and a developing "national, political unity". But for the NYT, that’s not good enough.
Jesus could come back today and walk on water from Staten Island to the mainland and they would probably complain that he didn’t do it while feeding the homeless and healing the sick.
 
Written By: mac
URL: http://
Erb said:
However, you can get my take on things through my blog,
Thanks, but I’d rather have needles stuck in my eyes.
 
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
"However, you can get my take on things through my blog,"

If we don’t know it by now, more exposure won’t help.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
timactual:
If we don’t know it by now, more exposure won’t help.
With it looking like the end of the recession that never was, with global warming on the fritz, with the Democrats now approaching the entre in their dinner feast of self-cannibalization, and with Iraq looking more and more like a success, "you won’t have Erb to kick around anymore."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
$5 million $100,000 reward for the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq

al Qaeda in Iraq leader devalued because it feels he’s lost effectiveness and is no longer worth such a steep price.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

 
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