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Al-Sadr ascendant.

“In a reflection of the growing new dimension of civil strife, a senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday that the militia of radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr has grown eightfold over the past year and now fields 40,000 to 60,000 men. That makes it more effective than the Iraqi government’s army, the official indicated.” The official also said “Sadr is so powerful that if provincial elections were held now, he would sweep most of the south and also take Baghdad.”

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