Modern Warfare

MODERN WARFARE….Both sides in Iraq’s Shiite civil war have accepted a truce in Sadr City. The Sadrists agreed to stop displaying arms in public and to allow the government to arrest specific individuals suspected of attacks, though only if they get a warrant first. The government ended its offensive and gave up on its demand that the Mahdi Army disband. It also apparently agreed that only government forces could stage raids in Sadr City, not the U.S. military. The Iranians were said to have been instrumental in brokering the deal.

So who won? As near as I can tell, opinion ranges from “murky” to “seems like the Maliki government backed down,” but really, nobody knows. Welcome to modern warfare.

Meanwhile, in Lebanon last week, Hezbollah managed to shock everyone by taking control of a big chunk of West Beirut with practically no resistance. Then, just as suddenly, they pulled out yesterday, turning control back over to government forces. But things are still tense and sporadic fighting has broken out elsewhere.

So who won? Hezbollah, probably, though it’s not clear whether they backed off because they got what they wanted or because they couldn’t have consolidated their control even if they’d wanted to. It’s murky. Welcome to modern warfare.