Moqtada's Motives

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It’s been a bloody week in Najaf. US marines and Iraqi troops have been in a violent standoff against radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr’s army.

Yesterday, American troops pushed deeper into the city, cordoning off an ancient cemetery, the old city, and the sacred shrine where al Sadr is believed to be holed up with his followers.

After pledging he would fight until the last drop of his blood was spilled, today there is news that the cleric may have been injured. He’s now negotiating with Iraqi authorities to end the fighting and find a political settlement.

American and Iraqi forces are anxious not to make al Sadr a martyr for fears that his death would inflame the insurgency and anger Shia Muslims worldwide.


Scott Baldauf, Christian Science Monitor correspondent, Baghdad

Amatzia Baram, senior fellow, United States Institute of Peace

Juan Cole, professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian history, University of Michigan

Nir Rosen, freelance journalist who spent the past year in Iraq.