It's not just bickering, it's deadly serioius manuevering. Sistani fears being put in charge, which is why he fled to London at this particular time. He knows he is between the new U.S.-authorities in the form of the Allawi regime, and his own instincts which were to have nothing to do with the American occupation. In fact he consistently refused to meet with Paul Bremer when he ran the country directly, and has not met with Ambassador Negroponte, now running Iraq by semi-remote control. Meanwhile, the 'confrontation' continues, and not only in Najaf. Iran is also now involved more than ever, calling for an emergency summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and making counter military threats against both the U.S. and Israel. As for Al-Sadr, he plays his weak hand rather well; but that doesn't mean he will survive. The Americans and their regime clearly fear to make him a martyr. But once the Shrine of Ali is out of the picture who knows how far they will go or what mistakes someone might make.