BAGHDAD - At least 55 people have died in two days of fighting between Shiite militias and U.S.-Iraqi forces in Baghdad and the southern oil hub of Basra, officials said Wednesday.
The burgeoning crisis -- part of an intense power struggle among Shiite political factions -- has major implications for the United States. An escalation could unravel the cease-fire which al-Sadr proclaimed last August. A resumption of fighting by his militia could kill more U.S. soldiers and threaten -- at least in the short run -- the security gains Washington has hailed as a sign that Iraq is on the road to recovery.
The cease fire agreed to by Al-Sadr is pretty much the only reason there's been less killing in the last few months.