McCain Claims Sadr ‘Not Contesting American Forces’ As Sadr Loyalists Rally Against U.S.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), 4/8/07:

“Extremist Shiite militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr is in hiding, his followers are not contesting American forces”

Muqtada al-Sadr, 4/9/07:

“’You, the Iraqi army and police forces, don’t walk alongside the occupiers, because they are your archenemy,’ the al-Sadr statement said. He urged his followers not to attack fellow Iraqis but to turn all their efforts on American forces. ‘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.”

Sadr has called a rally today where “hundreds of thousands of Shia protesters have burned and trampled on US flags in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf.” Despite McCain’s claim that Sadr is not “contesting” the U.S. occupation, here are some images from the rally that prove otherwise:

UPDATE: On Saturday, Reuters reported, “Iraqi and U.S. forces clashed with Shi’ite militia loyal to the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Friday in a dawn operation aimed at returning the volatile city of Diwaniya to government control.”