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FROM THIS EPISODE

After failing to capture him at home, US and Iraqi forces are closing in on the Shrine of Imam Ali as part a major offensive to crush Muqtada al-Sadr-s army--not just in Najaf, but in other parts of Iraq as well. Meantime, Islamic clerics and Arab spokesmen warn that the consequences could be disastrous for America-s image in the Muslim world. American leaders admit it-s a gamble, but the credibility of Iyad Allawi-s interim government is at stake as well as security throughout the country. Will the confrontation be a turning point in the war in Iraq? How long can the Medhi militia hold out? Will US forces attack the Shrine of Imam Ali? What are the prospects for Iraq-s interim government and America-s image in the Muslim world? Warren Olney gets an update. (An extended version of this program was broadcast earlier today on To the Point.)

NPR feature on the significance of Najaf's Shrine of Imam Ali

MSNBC feature on US-Iraqi Najaf offensive

Time article on showdown in Najaf

Producers:
Frances Anderton

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