Image: here's one of countless "spontaneous" Saddam demonstrations by comparison, they used to force us to go to these ones all the time when we were in high school.
Anyone following the
So what is the truth? is it Doomsday and JAM is going to take over all of Iraq soon? is this a battle between two sectarian parties with little regard to building a powerful nation? or is it the effort of a determined genuine government to crush all unruly discord and dissent?
As I said in my previous post, the ISCI-Da'wa government has long followed a policy of Chamberlainian appeasement toward the powerful Muqtada al-Sadr and his movement, who has far more street cred than them, as I expected, this "moment of truth" isn't going to be any different, after Maliki gave them a 72-hour ultimatum, he extended it to 10-days, also tagged with the usual last-hope when you can't do much else, similar to what the Americans done with the insurgency, luring them with money. hardly the show of force you'd expect from a legitimate, confident Iraqi government against the "Iranian influence and criminal cartels?"
Hey look, the ultimatum is 12 days now, could this be any much more pathetic?
Har har, look.
Police are refusing to give in to Maliki's demands, forcing US planes to come to the rescue, further exposing the weakness of the central government in dealing with problems independently.
So why is this freely elected government acting as such a pussy against an admittedly rogue militia?
PART I: Before 2003
In the beginning, the Shi'i religious movement revolved around one man, Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr (Qado's Uncle, also called the First Sadr), al-Sadr was the brains behind the formation of the first Shi'i religious reform party, the Islamic Call [Da'wa] in 1958, which was basically a Shi'i version of similar Sunni movements like the Muslim Brotherhood  , Baqir al-Sadr was an important theologian and philosopher, who sought to work Shi'i Islam into a modern system, his most important work "Our Economy" presents an Islamic economy model that is alternative to Capitalism and Marxism, it was adopted in Sunni Kuwait and allegedly forms the basis for Islamic Banking.
After Khomeini successfully installed his theocracy in Iran, he began calling for a similar one in Iraq, Baqir al-Sadr was his friend, some sources say that he disagreed with Khomeini's Vilayet-Faqih, in any case, he got basically nothing from Khomeini other than nominal support, Sadr had the charisma and appeal to become Iraq's Khomeini, but Saddam was not as weak and reluctant as Pahlavi was, distressed by the rise of theocracy, the Ba'ath Party waged war against religious Iran and crushed internal religious Shi'i movements, executing its figurehead, Sadr, in 1980. (Ironically, the Da'wa was viewed by the West at the time as a terrorist organization, this shows you how 'terrorist' can be applied loosely and how the terrorists of yesterday are the allies of today )
the remains of this movement fled abroad, to Syria and then to Iran. There, one of Sadr's disciples Hojjatol-Islam (not an Ayatollah at the time) Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, formed SCIRI, which espoused loyalty to Iranian visions of Pan-Shiism Vilayet-Faqih according to the understanding and centrality of Iran . SCIRI's armed wing, the Badr Briagde, was formed out of Iraqi POWs, allegedly some joined under torture or intimidation. the Badr Briagde was an active part of the 1991 Uprising through its cells in Iraq.
After 1991, Saddam Hussein, always looking for some sort of legitimacy from religious Shi'i theocracy, forced the marj'a Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei, whom he favored over Sistani because the latter was Iranian and the former was of Turkish origins, to be present in television conferences, but that wasn't enough. So the Ba'ath tolerated and probably encouraged the rise of Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr (a cousin of Baqir Sadr, Muqtada's father, and commonly referred to as the Second Sadr), the Ba'ath sought to placate the Shia and to present him as an alternative to the aloof religious leadership in Najaf, led by Sistani after al-Khoei's death in 1992, the Ba'ath expected Sadr II to be less hostile to the regime, but apparently, that didn't materalize, Sadr II emerged as a voice of Shia within Iraq, reconnecting the Shia clergy, which usually abstained from meddling in politics too much, with the rural areas of southern Iraq, Sadr II the involvement of the clergy in politics further ; he held Friday prayers in Kufa, which, in Shi'i customs, can only be held in the presence of the Rightful Imam (Mahdi himself, or, under the Iranian Vilayet-Faqih, Madhi's deputy -Khomeini or Khamenei-), Sadr II built a network of civil services that replaced the neglect of the Ba'ath central government during the years of sanction, and he angrily lashed out against the USA and Israel, while also adopting an indirect confrontation with the Ba'ath, refusing to bestow legitimacy to its rule in exchange for religious freedom, all this was cut short when Sadr II was killed by unknown gunmen in 1999, probably ordered by Saddam Hussein who never tolerated any rising political power. 
the rise of Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr was received with hostility from SCIRI, the reasons for this are many: the Arab vs Persian dimension may have played a great part, as al-Sadr meant the rise of an Arab Iraqi Shi'i center whereas SCIRI was aligned with the Iranian vision of a central Shi'i authority mainfested by Vailety al-Fariq, whether this is true or whether Sadr was a Baathist method of splitting Shi'i ranks, al-Hakim repeatedly lashed out against him as a Ba'athist invention, a curse that today finds repeated mention in Iraqi forums, describing the Mahdi Army as nothing but ex-Fedayeen Neo-Baathi thugs. Saddam Hussein employed this hostility, blaming the assassination on Iran and its "agents", in the funeral held for Sadr II at Qom, Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim received a sound bashing by slippers and shoes in an infamous event now known as the "Battle of Adham Mosque" , someone has to write a somewhat detailed account of the roots of this enmity, but what seems to have happened is that eventually, the rift between Sadrists and Badrists had already gone beyond repair by this time, with the Sadrists viewing al-Hakim and his accomplices as Iranian agents and an arrogant upper-class who has little care for the southern population at large, and who left Sadr II to die while opposing his activities. After Sadr II died, his movement went underground.
 T. M. Aziz--The Role of Muhammed Baqir al-Sadr in Shii Political Activism in Iraq.
 Wikipedia, Dawa Party.
 Dhiyaa al-Shkarji, ex-Dawa member, "al-Maliki, Sadrists and ISCI revisited"
 Yitzhak Nakash - Reaching For Power: Shia in the Modern Arab World, 96-97.
 For a Sadrist account of this event (arabic).
Other details of the hostility between the families of Sadr and Hakim (arabic).