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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 3, 2008 / 27 Adar II 5768

al Sadr's cease fire

By Jack Kelly

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the opening game of the baseball season between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland Athletics in Japan, 11 runs were scored.

That lede would be unsatisfying to most sports fans, because it doesn't indicate which team won. But it is very like most of the reporting of battles in Iraq: "The deadliest clashes were in Basra, where at least 47 people were killed and 223 wounded in the two days of fighting," wrote the AP's Kim Gamel in a dispatch March 26.

Ms. Gamel was writing about the opening clashes of Operation Knight's Charge, the effort by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki to take control of Iraq's second most populous city from Iranian-backed militias, chiefly the Mahdi Army nominally headed by the Moqtada al Sadr.

Fighting subsided after Mr. al Sadr called for a cease fire Sunday.

The cease fire "is seen as a serious blow" to Mr. Maliki, because "he had vowed that he would see the Basra campaign through to a military victory," wrote Erica Goode and James Glanz of the New York Times Monday.

But Nibras Kazimi, an Iraqi who is a visiting scholar at the Hudson Institute, says his sources in Iraq tell him "the Mahdi army is losing very badly."

So who's right? It is rare in the annals of war for the side which is winning to seek a cease fire. And though Mr. al Sadr has said he wants one, Mr. Maliki hasn't said he'll grant one. "Security operations in Basra will continue," he said Monday.

"The Iraq army has cordoned off the city and is methodically advancing to allow residents to leave the city amidst the fighting, militants to turn over arms, while gradually isolating the factions they intend to uproot," a Marine liaison officer to the Iraqi security forces said in an email Tuesday to radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

Why might Mr. al Sadr have sought a cease fire? "Sources in Basra tell TIME that there has been a large scale retreat in the oil-rich port city because of low morale and because ammunition is low due to the closure of the Iranian border," TIME reported Sunday.

"They were running short of ammunition, food and water," a U.S. military officer told Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal. "In short, (the Mahdi army) had no ability to sustain the effort."

That sure doesn't sound like al Sadr's forces were winning. It is easier to maintain the illusion that they were when friendly, enemy and noncombatant casualties are lumped together.

His sources in the U.S. military tell him the Mahdi army was getting pounded, Bill Roggio said. "According to an unofficial tally... 571 Mahdi army fighters have been killed, 881 have been wounded, 490 have been captured, and 30 have surrendered over the course of seven days of fighting."

"The U.S. and Iraqi military never came close to inflicting casualties at such a high rate during the height of major combat operations against al Qaida in Iraq during the summer and fall of 2007," he said.

The Mahdi army has won by surviving, media analysts say. But it seems apparent the Mahdi army survived by quitting.

Mr. al Sadr offered the cease fire after two Iraqi members of Parliament travelled to Iran to meet with the head of the Qods (Jerusalem) force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the McClatchy Newspapers reported. The lawmakers urged Brigadier Gen. Qassem Suliemani to lean on Mr. al Sadr (who is in Iran) to offer the cease fire.

If true (Mr. Kazimi's government source in Baghdad described it as a "naive fabrication"), the McClatchy story indicates the Mahdi army is under Iranian control.

Why would Iran want the fighting to stop?

"The Iranians have realized that they no longer can use the Shiite militia threat to force Washington's hand on Iraq without jeopardizing their own interests," speculated STRATFOR, a private intelligence service.

Fighting among Shia factions, and the increasing independence of Shia factions they thought they controlled has virtually dashed hopes Iran would be able to dominate Iraq through Shia proxies, STRATFOR said.

"The mullahs know that they are losing," said Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute. "Their great dream of driving America out of Iraq, which seemed to be about to be fulfilled just a year and a half ago, has now turned into the nightmare of humiliation and defeat for the Islamic republic. The Maliki government is attacking the remnants of the Mahdi army in Basra, that same government the mullahs thought they had under control."

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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