Iraq: May 13, 2004


Muqtada al Sadr now has the Shia clerical establishment and most Shias visibly against him. Coalition troops are killing dozens of his armed supporters each day as the al Sader gunmen are driven from government buildings they had occupied, by force, for weeks. Al Sadr has been told that he must disband his militia and surrender and stand trial for the murder (of rival Shia clerics). He is desperately trying to avoid this. He could flee to Iran, but that would destroy much of the popular support he has left. But the Shia clergy, backed by coalition troops, see they have al Sadr by the throat and are not likely to let him continue to act like a "little Saddam" (as he is now known on the streets.)


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