BASRA UPDATE….So how are things going in Basra? According to the New York Times, not too badly:
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.
Just as in Baghdad, Iraqi and Western officials emphasize that the gains here are “fragile,” like the newly planted roadside saplings that fail to conceal mounds of garbage and pools of foul-smelling water in the historic port city’s slums.
….Government forces have now taken over Islamic militants’ headquarters and halted the death squads and “vice ‘enforcers’ ” who attacked women, Christians, musicians, alcohol sellers and anyone suspected of collaborating with Westerners.
I don’t have anything special to say about this, but it’s tentative good news and I wanted to pass it along. We’ll have to wait and see whether this is a temporary lull or a permanent change.