I read the NY Times article and it looks like they are trying to portray as-Sadr as an almost non factor in Iraq now. With a militia as big as his I seem to doubt that.
Militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr aired his sternest threat yet to the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, vowing "open war" unless the U.S.-backed military assault on his followers ends. "I am giving you my final warning," al-Sadr said in a written statement calling for a halt of attacks against his militia strongholds in Baghdad and southern Iraq. Al-Sadr's message urged the Iraqi government to end its crackdown and take the "road of peace." If not, al-Sadr said, "I will declare it open war until liberation."...read on.