Noen dager etter at han hadde erklært alle shiaer krig, kom Abu Musab al-Zarqawi med en korrigering: erklæringen gjaldt ikke Muqtadah al-Sadr.
Dette unntaket har tydeligvis voldt Muqtadah besvær. I en offisiell kunngjøring ba han storayatollah al-Sistani om råd. Hvordan skulle han ta det?
Days after his declaration of war, Mr. Zarqawi issued a qualifier, exempting certain groups including followers of Mr. Sadr, who has sometimes allied with Sunni fighters in his resistance to the American presence here.
Seemingly embarrassed by that exemption, Mr. Sadr publicly sought guidance on how to fight Mr. Zarqawi’s attacks from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most revered Shiite cleric.
The ayatollah responded in an unusually lengthy statement, in which he repeated his previous counsel to Iraqis to «continue in their self restraint, along with more caution and alertness.» Mr. Sistani also said that the insurgents’ purpose was to «start the fire of civil war in this beloved country,» and that Iraqis must not allow them to succeed. He called on the government to protect Iraqis, and on the courts to speed up their work in trying and sentencing those accused of murder.