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8.27.2004

Cease-fire in Najaf 

On the one hand, the fighting in Najaf has stopped (for now).

On the other hand, I wonder if every two-bit cleric in Iraq has carte blanche to extort political concessions from the Iraqi government simply by rounding up a gang of fighters. I could be wrong, but it seems like Moqtada al-Sadr's popularity grew significantly while he was fighting US forces, since he was perceived as a patriot for fighting against the US. Indeed, if this were not the case, I don't think the US would have agreed to the cease-fire.

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