Iraq: May 23, 2004


Local tribal chiefs apparently convinced al Sadr gunmen in Karbala to stop using Shia religious shrines for storing weapons and firing at American troops from. American troops and Iraqi police have attacked lesser mosques and found large quantities of weapons, as well as armed al Sadr supporters who had been openly firing from the mosques. Despite the attempts by Arab and European media to portray the al Sadr gunmen as part of a general Shia uprising, it has been increasingly obvious the the Shia religious leadership, and most Shia Arabs, were hostile to renegade cleric Muqtada al Sadr and his armed militia. Shia Iraqis openly called al Sadr  "little Saddam" and provided information and armed volunteers to assist coalition troops in driving al Sadr's men out of mosques and cities in southern Iraq. 


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