Status Quo Antes Up
After promising a decisive victory over the Jaysh al-Mahdi, and ruling out negotiations with those he declared “worse than al-Qaeda”, [PM Nouri al-Maliki] appears to be settling for a deal in which JAM does not surrender its weapons and the government promises to end the arrests and raids which had been infuriating the Sadrists for months. That sounds like status quo ante, with some possibility of long-standing Sadrist complaints being addressed.
Is that really the status quo ante? Sadr got everything he wanted and Maliki got nothing he wanted. Sadr gets his people out of the cross-hairs of the police and Maliki didn’t get control of Basra. Sadr gets his guns and Maliki gets the… praise of Michael Hayden. That’s a new landscape, and one rather favorable to Sadr.
This is all a quibble, as Marc has a million other valuable insights and he anyway writes that Maliki blundered his way into a pear-shaped mess. But still!