Via the BBC
Nouri Maliki told CNN that the cleric's movement would not be allowed to take part in elections unless it disbanded its militia, the Mehdi Army.
This looks to be a "what I can't do by force of arms, I will do by force of state power" situation to me. The quote from al Maliki:
"We have opened the door for confrontation, a real confrontation with these gangs, and we will not stop until we are in full control of these areas," he said.
I'm not sure if Sadr will plan to split the movement into a political / unarmed one and an armed branch (IRA/Sinn Fein).
Rep. Wexler - I'd like you to ask Gen. Petrateus about this!!