CBS rounded out the coverage with a backgrounder from Baghdad on Iraqi politics. Muqtada al-Sadr, commander of the Mahdi Army militia, controls the 30-strong bloc in parliament that gives al-Maliki's coalition its majority. Elizabeth Palmer told us that the militia has grown eightfold in the last year to its current 60,000-man strength. His message is "ferociously anti-American;" his party has taken over important ministries; his followers have infiltrated the police; and "his gunmen are said to run the death squads that torture and murder Sunnis."
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