Muqtada al-Sadr has sent his family into hiding in anticipation of an American crackdown on his movement. He appears to anticipate an attempt to arrest or kill him. He maintains that the crackdown has been underway for a month, with 400 of his followers arrested. He is accused of maintaining a private militia, the Mahdi Army, that is implicated in death squad activity against Sunni Arabs. Local Shiites often see the militia as a kind of neighborhood watch that keeps them safe from Sunni incursions when the central government does not.Gen. George came out and said that he thinks we can begin drawdown this summer given the good things he's seeing. But he's also said that before.
A direct US conflict with Muqtada al-Sadr could throw the Shiite south into turmoil.
I'm a very lucky person with every allergy known to man but still happy to be enjoying a wonderful life living in the best place in the world!