Update on Allawi
It seems that today marks the 7th anniversary according to the Islamic lunar calendar of the death of Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Muhammad Sadiq Al-Sadr (Muqtada's much-revered father), who was allegedly assassinated by Saddam's Ba'athist goons on February 19, 1999.
So naturally, many Sadrists would have congregated in Najaf to visit his grave, and also make a detour towards the Imam Ali shrine that was visited by Ayad Allawi today. Allawi had given the green light to the US Marines to storm this same shrine last year in order to flush out the Sadrists. A Sadrist mourning the martyrdom of his former spiritual leader at the bloodied hands of the Ba'ath, and Ayad Allawi the unrepentant ex-Ba'athist dropping by for a visit...Well, make a point of not inviting these two to dinner at the same sitting...They are unlikely to hit it off.
The timing of this visit was phenomenally stupid on the part of Allawi's campaign team. It reflects a deep misunderstanding of Iraqi dynamics. Not the brand of decision-making one would bet on to stabilize Iraq over the next four years.