Making sense of Basra

David Frum offers his assessment of the recent fighting in Basra, in which, in the MSM’s telling, the Iraqi government forces were defeated so roundly that their opponent, the Mahdi army, asked the government for a truce:

The big news from Basra seems to be this: Just as the Maliki government secured peace in western Iraq by striking deals with the local Sunni tribes, so it now seems to have bought itself a constituency in the South

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