RealNews

Al-Sadr's intentions, ambitions unclear

The young followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who fought street battles against U.S. troops in the spring, have traded in their weapons for shovels in the sweltering heat of summer. Instead of standing up to tanks and machine guns, they are pitching in to collect trash, plant trees, direct traffic and help Iraqi police round up local riffraff in the impoverished Sadr City slum. Their leader and his spokesmen have been issuing conciliatory statements about working with the interim Iraqi government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, which took power two weeks ago. “If the Allawi government dispatches its duties properly … we will be happy to cooperate,” says Sheik Raad al-Kadumi, one of al-Sadr’s spokesmen in Baghdad. “Sadr seems to be showing quite a positive attitude,” Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Kadhim says. Full Story

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