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In late 2003, five Military Intelligence Soldiers were tasked to track the radical firebrand Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. These Army Reservists followed his moves through the streets and back alleys of Kufa and Najaf, they reported the activities of and the growing influence of his ‘Mahdi Army’ as they slowly but deliberately encroached on the local governments for control of the prized Imam Ali shrine, and the millions of dollars worth of gold and currency that laid therein.

Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez personally followed the progress of this small group of Soldiers, looking for clues of Sadr’s intentions and how it would affect the Coalition and the rest of Iraq. For the next six months, debates raged from the Green Zone to the corridors of the Pentagon, and even to the Oval Office of the White House: what should be done with Muqtada al-Sadr?

Now for the first time, the ground truth is revealed about how America let Iraq’s most dangerous man raise an army, fight the Coalition—twice—and then slip through their fingers to escape to Iran, where he is being groomed to become Iraq’s next Ayatollah and awaits the time to return and claim Iraq for Iran.

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