In today’s New York Times, Alissa J. Rubin has composed a classic head-scratcher in writing about the new truce between the Iraqi government and Sadrists in Sadr City:

The decision to negotiate a cease-fire came as both parties appeared to realize that they were losing ground.

Not every interaction contains a zero-sum dynamic, but I’m pretty sure warfare does. If both parties are losing ground, then this is truly a new kind of combat. Rubin writes: “It is not clear who won . . .” and then strains to make it so. Note the novel use of “as well” in the second paragraph:

The Iraqi government has done little to ease the crisis and allow medical and other aid to reach people. There has been almost no effort to repair the shattered neighborhood, where burned-out cars and piles of bricks from bomb-damaged houses are common sights..

For the Shiite militias, losses have been rising as well. They are suffering more casualties and are also being blamed for the deaths of some civilians, who frequently bear the brunt of the gun battles. More than 30 people have been killed there since Thursday.

Furthermore, the political establishment appears to have turned against them, at least for now.

While it’s obvious that the Sadrist militias are taking heavy losses, the truth is that the fight is still raging, despite the cease-fire. Check out Bill Roggio for genuinely insightful coverage of ongoing operations.

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