When the smoke cleared after the fight, at least 21 bodies lay scattered among the weeds, making it the deadliest militia battle in months. The black-clad Shiites swaggered away, boasting about the carnage.Is this supposed to make us proud of what we've done in Iraq? Did we depose a secular tyrant so he could be replaced by a clerical tyrant? At least women had rights under Saddam, and he apparently had no plans to rebuild his destroyed arsenal of WMD. Saddr is young and ambitious. What do you think he'll be up to in a few years?
Even as that battle raged on Oct. 27, Mr. Sadr's aides in Baghdad were quietly closing a deal that would signal his official debut as a kingmaker in Iraqi politics, placing his handpicked candidates on the same slate - and on equal footing - with the Shiite governing parties in the December parliamentary elections. The country's rulers had come courting him, and he had forced them to meet his terms.
Wielding violence and political popularity as tools of his authority, Mr. Sadr, the Shiite cleric who has defied the American authorities here since the fall of Saddam Hussein, is cementing his role as one of Iraq's most powerful figures.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Shiite Cleric Increases His Power in Iraq - New York Times:
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