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Anti-American cleric vies for more power in Iraq

BAGHDAD – A Muslim cleric  who once used a militia to resist the American invasion positioned himself as a big winner in Iraq's monthslong political deadlock Friday when his party threw its support behind the beleaguered prime minister.
The hard-line Shi'ite group led by Muqtada al-Sadr called it the start of its ascent to nationwide power — a specter sure to spook the United States.
Washington considers the cleric a threat to Iraq's shaky security and has long refused to consider his movement a legitimate political entity. But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki may be unable to govern without him.
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