This may mean something very ominous, and is pure speculation on my part. Iran may have come to the conclusion that the US will attack Iran when the third carrier arrives in the Gulf. They could not do much to stop the air campaign, but they could make life very miserable for US troops in Iraq. Al-Sadr, tying up US ground troops in Iraq and doing Iranian bidding, would position himself to run Iraq when the Americans are forced to leave by the Democrats or next administration. This assumes al-Sadr is still alive, which he should not be.
Sadr Calls on Iraqis to End Cooperation With U.S.
By SAAD ABDUL KADIR
The Associated Press
Sunday, April 8, 2007; 10:54 AM
BAGHDAD -- The renegade cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged the Iraqi army and police to stop cooperating with the United States and told his guerrilla fighters to concentrate on pushing American forces out of the country, according to a statement issued Sunday.
The statement, stamped with al-Sadr's official seal, was distributed in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Sunday _ a day before a large demonstration there, called for by al-Sadr, to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.
A truckload of supporters of a radical anti-US cleric Muqtada al-Sadr leaves Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, April 8, 2007. al-Sadr called on his supporters to come to the holy cities of Kufa and Najaf to mark the fourth year of the US-led invasion on Monday.
"You, the Iraqi army and police forces, don't walk alongside the occupiers, because they are your archenemy," the statement said. Its authenticity could not be verified.
In the statement, al-Sadr _ who commands an enormous following among Iraq's majority Shiites and has close allies in the Shiite-dominated government _ also encouraged his followers to attack only American forces, not fellow Iraqis.
"God has ordered you to be patient in front of your enemy, and unify your efforts against them _ not against the sons of Iraq," the statement said, in an apparent reference to clashes between al-Sadr's Mahdi Army fighters and Iraqi troops in Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad. "You have to protect and build Iraq."
The U.S. military on Sunday announced the deaths of four American soldiers, killed a day earlier in an explosion near their vehicle in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad. The province has seen a spike in attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces since the start of a plan two months ago to pacify the capital. Officials believe militants have streamed out of Baghdad to invigorate the insurgency in areas just outside the city.
The full article Washington Post