Appearing on Fox News Sunday this morning Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) repeated the false claim that Muqtada al-Sadr declared the ceasefire in Basra last week, which he pointed to as proof that Sadr didn’t “think he was winning” the battle in Basra. He also said that the Iraqi army performed “pretty well”:
It was al-Sadr that declared the ceasefire, not Maliki. … With respect, I don’t think Sadr would have declared the ceasefire if he thought he was winning. Most times in history, military engagements, the winning side doesn’t declare the ceasefire. The second point is, overall, the Iraqi military performed pretty well. … The military is functioning very effectively.
In fact, it was members of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government who brokered the ceasefire, to which Sadr agreed. Experts agree that Sadr’s influence was strengthened — rather than diminished — by the Basra battle.
Finally, the New York Times reported Friday that at least 1,000 Iraqi national soldiers deserted or refused to fight in Basra.