The avalanche of good news in Iraq continues with this ABC report:
In Baghdad’s Sadr City today, once again, street vendors line the sidewalk with colorful shirts and shoes. Vegetable markets, once again, have fresh limes and produce. Family stores, once again, are back in business.
And in the local Ibn al Balad hospital, no more war wounds.
“There are no injured people in this hospital,” says Jabber Shanshal, an Iraqi nurse, drawing a stark contrast with the situation more than two months ago, when heavy fighting took place in the Shiite suburb of almost three million people.
The residents of Sadr City have been longtime followers of the firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr and his 60,000-strong Mahdi militia. . . But all that has changed. Last week, al Sadr’s representatives and the main Shiite political party here signed a cease-fire agreement.
And at sunrise on May 20, a legion of Iraqi soldiers cautiously marched into Sadr City. Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki had ordered the thousands of soldiers into the Shiite enclave as part of “Operation Peace.” They were greeted with open arms.
(Via Hot Air.)
The article also reviews the history of the operations in Basra and Sadr City. Widely derided as they were when they began, it’s now clear that they were a masterstroke.
Sadr is trying to grasp on to a sliver of political leverage, claiming to have struck the deal which brought his people their livelihoods back. While Maliki is lauding the latest in a series of successes to ensure security and a regained national unity to his country.
Certainly, it seems as though there is little Maliki can do wrong these days. With provincial elections around the corner, an Iraqi future without Maliki is almost impossible to imagine.