In Baghdad Slum, GIs, Sadr Adapt to Peace
A tenuous peace holds in Sadr City between U.S. forces and followers of militant anti-American cleric Moktada Sadr. Mehdi militiamen who were shooting at U.S. soldiers last summer are now helping man Iraqi police checkpoints and assisting in reconstruction.
Sadr has re-emerged after a period of quiet following two failed uprisings against U.S. forces. The Shiite firebrand is still calling for a quick withdrawal of the American military and the release of followers detained by U.S. and Iraqi troops. But Sadr is also working to re-invent his movement as a populist political force.
Complicating any dialogue is continued skepticism that Sadr has full control over the volatile foot soldiers in his movement. As one American soldier said of the tense peace in Sadr City, "I could get back in the tank. But I don't like tanks. I'd just as soon drive around here in the Humvee and hand out chickens."
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