In a dramatic shift in tacttics, Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is reaching out to rival Sunni leaders in Iraq, and purging radical elements of his own militia, the Washington Post reports. With Sunni insurgents making moves to distance themselves from al-Qaeda, Sadr sees an opportunity for a cross-sectarian political alliance, aides tell the Post.
An nationalist movement that cut sectarian violence and thwarted al-Qaeda in Iraq, they argue, could hasten the end of the US occupation. "The American argument is we can't have a timetable because of al-Qaeda," a Sadr lieutenant said. "So we're going to weaken al-Qaeda for you." Meetings are said to have been held with both political and militia leaders.