It just doesn't get any more blatantly biased than this. Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has agreed to a cease fire in Sadr city and correspondent Mark Kukis writes the story as if al-Sadr is "the winner."
Why do you suppose Kukis doesn't mention that Iraqi army forces can now patrol areas previously occupied by al-Sadr's Mahdi army? Why do you think he found it difficult to mention that while the Mahdi may carry rifles, they must turn in all heavy and medium weapons?
Word of the pact emerged Saturday night, when an aide to Mahdi Army leader Muqtada al-Sadr said a deal had been reached to end roughly two months of street fighting in eastern Baghdad. Soon afterward, U.S. and Iraqi officials endorsed the agreement, which came as Iraqi forces working with U.S. troops were signaling plans for a new push to break from areas where they had remained stuck for weeks. Details of the cease-fire remain largely unclear beyond an immediate end to the battles that have displaced thousands of residents from the Mahdi Army stronghold of Sadr City, a vast slum home to more than 2 million people.
In announcing the deal, al-Sadr aide Sheik Salah al-Obeidi said the agreement, "stipulates that the Mahdi Army will stop fighting in Sadr City and will stop displaying arms in public. In return, the government will stop random raids against al-Sadr followers and open all closed roads that lead to Sadr City."
Does that sound a like a "victory" to you?
It gets more unbelievable here:
Has this guy been asleep for the last month? "Fought Iraqi forces to a standstill?" That must be what the New York Times is talking about here:
The fact that a leading figure in al-Sadr's ranks announced the deal and pointedly rejected the Iraqi government's key demand to disarm suggests that the cleric is still controlling the agenda tactically and politically despite the most serious challenge his power the Iraqi government could muster. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki set out to break the back of the Mahdi Army in March, when he launched an offensive against areas the militia controls in the southern city of Basra. The Mahdi Army fought Iraqi forces to a standstill there while unleashing a daily hail of rockets and mortars on the Green Zone that left al-Maliki's government effectively the ones under siege. And when U.S. and Iraqi troops tried to press into Sadr City to chase the militia's mortar men and rocketeers, they barely managed to establish a foothold on the southern edge of the neighborhood before the situation stalemated.
This was after the press declared another "victory" for al-Sadr when he supposedly announced a cease fire in Basra last month.
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.
Among the many uncertainties are whether the government, criticized for incompetence at the start of the operation, can maintain the high level of troops here. But in interviews across Basra, residents overwhelmingly reported a substantial improvement in their everyday lives.
"The circle of fear is broken," said Shaker, owner of a floating restaurant on Basra's famed Corniche promenade, who, although optimistic, was still afraid to give his full name, as were many of those interviewed.
The only problem for Mookie was that the government did not agree to a cease fire and kept up the rout of his militiamen until today, they are gone, the Iraqi army is in control, and the correspondent for Time Magazine is exposed as a shill for the enemy.
Why didn't Kukis report the current situation in Basra? It didn't fit the narrative of his story; the left wing infatuation with "revolutionaries" like al-Sadr no matter how brutal or thuggish they are. As long as they are fighting America, they are heroes.
Hence, chalk up another fake "victory" for al-Sadr whose crumbling militia is matched only by his crumbling political position.
Some "victor," huh?