NYT: Don Sistani okays the hit on al-Sadr

So to speak.

Iraq’s most venerated Shiite cleric has tentatively approved an American-backed coalition of Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish parties that aims to isolate extremists, particularly the powerful Shiite militia leader Moktada al-Sadr, Iraqi and Western officials say…

As the effective arbiter of a Shiite role in the planned coalition, the ayatollah is considered critical to the Iraqi and American effort…

Mr. Sadr’s rise to power, mostly on the strength of his Mahdi Army militia, has presented something of a challenge to the authority of Ayatollah Sistani as Iraq’s most revered Shiite cleric. In spite of Mr. Sistani’s preaching of tolerance toward Sunni Arabs, the Mahdi Army has been a driving force in the bloody cycle of retributive violence, which is killing more than 100 people a day in Iraq.

If you don’t recognize the clip instantly, you’re probably better off not watching. Content warning.