SADR BLINKS: "Six days after the Iraqi government launched Operation Knights’ Charge in Basrah against the Mahdi Army and other Iranian-backed Shia terror groups, Muqtada al Sadr, the Leader of the Mahdi Army, has called for his fighters to lay down their weapons and cooperate with Iraqi security forces. Sadr’s call for an end to the fighting comes as his Mahdi Army has taken serious losses since the operation began. . . . Since the fighting began on Tuesday 358 Mahdi Army fighters were killed, 531 were wounded, 343 were captured, and 30 surrendered. The US and Iraqi security forces have killed 125 Mahdi Army fighters in Baghdad alone, while Iraqi security forces have killed 140 Mahdi fighters in Basra." But it's likely a blink, not a major defeat.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey: Remind me again — who’s losing in Basra? "Did our media give anyone this context? No. They reported it as some kind of spontaneous eruption of rebellion without noting at all that a nation can hardly be considered sovereign while its own security forces cannot enter a large swath of its own territory. And in the usual defeatist tone, they reported that our mission in Iraq had failed without waiting to see what the outcome of the battle would be." No surprise there -- that's what they do every time.
MORE: Heh: "The speed at which the MSM went from ignoring Iraq to proclaiming that we were losing was actually pretty impressive. I didn’t know they could move that fast any more. But when they had to back up their narrative of our loss with facts like '230 people have died in Iraq because of this latest battle' (not saying where those 230 people were or which side they were on) I knew that the good guys were winning." It's like deciphering coverage in the old Soviet newspapers.
BATTLING EDS: Ed Cone says Ed Morrissey is wrong about the media coverage. But one of Cone's commenters disagrees. The NPR coverage I've heard was of a similar tone, though I do remember thinking the other day that if this was an effort to stage a Tet it was failing, because NPR spent more time on a story about contaminated Mozzarella in Italy than on the fighting in Iraq.
MORE STILL: The Mudville Gazette: "Few have noticed that this round of fighting - the heaviest occurring in Basra and reportedly with flare ups primarily in the Iraqi-controlled southern provinces - is a fair approximation of what both Democratic Presidential candidates (and most everyone else in America from the President on down) desire for a future US military role in Iraq - providing a support function to Iraqi combat troops. Within the next week we'll have some idea of how close to reality that goal is."
AND MORE: Reader Thomas Wictor suggests that this video explains why Sadr backed down:
Intense firefight in Sadr City in a raid conducted by Iraqi and Coalition special forces. It appears that most of the vehicles and troops are Iraqis.
Don't let all the pundits and analysts fool you: the JAM is now seriously outgunned by the Iraqi security forces.
Given this level of firepower, do you really think Maliki would "cave in" to al Sadr the way the media is spinning it?
The whole video is shot in Infrared, and it's interesting how you can see the targeting lasers all over. Michael Yon was just telling me about that the other day, but this is the first time I've seen it.