Al-Sadr remains a thorn in Washington’s side, and in recent weeks his followers have been involved in numerous clashes and demonstrations. Al-Sadr is believed to control a militia of about 10,000 men. ‘We will not turn a blind eye to the militias,’ Krivo said on 19 October. ‘ Our intent is to deal with them with as little bloodshed as possible. But, the alternative, to let these criminal gangs rule the country, is not viable.’ (MEED 15:10:03)