Wiggle-room (With an update on continued US airstrikes)
(1) The Arabic version quotes Dabbagh as referring to "talks between the UIA and the brothers from the Sadrist trend to support security and stability in Sadr City and [other] areas where there have been security problems, and an agreement was reached, consisting of 14 points, between the Sadrist trend and the UIA, which transmitted the views of the government. The English language version says this: "'There are talks between a UIC [=UIA] delegation and the brothers from the Sadrist bloc, and a 14-point agreement was reached,' Ali al-Dabbagh told VOI on Saturday". The thing about the UIA "transmitting the views of the government" isn't there. (And in neither the English nor the Arabic version is their any mention of the American forces or the Maliki-Bush relationship, so the question of the government's actual status in this is important).
(2)The Arabic version quotes Dabbagh's version of one part of the agreement as follows: "Among the clauses is an end to armed manifestations (muthaahira or muzaahira if you prefer) clearing Sadr City of all explosive devices and mines, closing illegal courthouses..." and so on, compared to a slightly different expression in the English language version, which runs as follows: "'The agreement included the clearing of Sadr City of all explosive charges and mines, the closure of all illegal courthouses, ending all armed activities and acknowledging that the Iraqi government is the sole party that runs security issues and decides sending any forces to any area to impose order and security,' Dabbagh noted". So "an end to armed manifestations" in Arabic has become "ending all armed activities" in English. If I am remembering correctly, this expression about "armed manifestations" or something very like it, was part of the compromise agreement between the Lebanese government and Hizbullah for the implementation of the UN resolution that followed the July war of 2006 and called for disarming Hizbullah. The idea had to do with keeping weapons out of sight.
(3) On the question of picking up wanted persons, there is an interesting (?) difference as well. The Arabic version quotes Dabbagh as follows: "On stopping military operations in Sadr City, Dabbagh said: 'Military operations in Sadr City are in pursuit of outlaws, because there are people that are wanted by the law, and we expect that the Sadrist trend will cooperate in the government extending its authority.'" the English has something quite different, as follows:
Zaynab al-Kanani, a member of parliament from the Sadrist bloc, had said on Friday that several Sadrist delegations under Sheikh Ubaydi have met with members from the UIC and other parliamentary blocs during the past couple of days to reach a solution to the crisis between the government and the Sadrists.So the conclusion is that there is probably a lot more grey-area wiggle-room that might appear on the face of it. Because
She said the outcome of the meetings was good but there are still some pivotal issues pending consultations and might take some time to reach an agreement over.
"One of these issues is the handover of more than 40 gunmen against whom arrest warrants were issued," Kanani said.
Ubaydi, however, said the agreement provides for "the right of the Iraqi security forces to conduct raids in search of wanted people in accordance with controls and citizenship rights [no doubt meaning "subject to due process and civil rights"."
(1) It still isn't exactly clear what the relationship is between the "government" and the UIA in this, or what the government's actual obligations are under this, or the relationship between this "agreement" and its other "agreements" for instance that with the United States.
(2) There seems to be a clause about banning "armed manifestations", which could indicate an informal compromise something like what was adopted in the 2006 case of Hizbullah.
(3) There is still ambiguity about the potential scope of Iraqi army arrest operations, which depending on your reading, could be limited to execution of existing outstanding arrest warrants, arresting of anyone as long as it is subject to due process and civil rights (prompt charges or else release, for instance), or a more general obligation on the part of the Sadrists to help the government extend its jurisdiction.
In short, the whole package of unclarity in this probably marks this as what we call in Japanese an agreement "with the irridescence of a butterfly's wings."
*Voices of Iraq posted this at 9:30 pm Baghdad time on Saturday May 10:
Baghdad, May 10, (VOI) – Three large parts of Sadr city were subjected to heavy bombardment that was continuously carried out by U.S. helicopters, starting from Saturday 3:30 p.m. until now, despite the Iraqi government and representatives of the Sadr movement having signed an agreement to stop confrontations in the city.
Reporter of Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI) said that airstrike operations covered the areas of Jameela, al-Gayiara, and al-Dakhil, but he could not contact medical sources to learn whether there were any casualties among Sadr city's residents.