Countdown For al-Sadr
Perhaps the countdown has finally begun in earnest for the end of Muqtada al-Sadr's days. The latest sign that the Iraqi government may be preparing in earnest to bring that about is the news that Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki met with the key Shi'a religious figure in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf.
Kirk will be bringing more context with his continuing coverage of events. But this meeting today is quite noteworthy.
"If the government does not do its duty in imposing security and order to the people and protecting them, it will give a chance to other powers to do this duty and this a very dangerous matter," al-Sistani's office quoted him as saying.
"Imposing security" means, among other things, silencing al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army and "those other powers" are Iraq's Sunnis. Eliminating Muqtada al-Sadr and silencing the Mahdi Army would be a serious blow not only to them, but also to their Iranian paymasters.
These words from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani are profoundly important.