The U.S. military is seeking talks with Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr directly and through the government of Iraq, according to a top American general.Sadr's refusal sounds pretty pro forma to me, and I wouldn't be surprised if he eventually his stance. Stay tuned.
...."He has a grass-roots movement that he's always going to have; we have to recognize that," Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the second-ranking American commander in Iraq, told McClatchy Newspapers in an interview this week. "We're trying to talk to him. We want to talk to him."
.... Salah al-Obaidi, a senior Sadr aide, acknowledged that the U.S. has approached the cleric's supporters multiple times about talks with Sadr. He said the requests had been rebuffed.
"This will be a betrayal for the country," Obaidi said. "Any cooperation with the occupier is forbidden."
TALKING TO SADR....Leila Fadel of McClatchy reports that after spending the past four years turning him into Iraq's best known symbol of anti-Americanism, we're finally recognizing reality and trying to open some lines of communication with Muqtada al-Sadr: