Is it possible these guys are beginning to sense that the quiet moderate majority can hold sway over the minority militants? Let's hope so.
Representatives of Iraq's most influential Shiite leaders met here on Tuesday and demanded that Moktada al-Sadr, a rebel Shiite cleric, withdraw militia units from the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, stop turning the mosques there into weapons arsenals and return power to Iraqi police and civil defense units that operate under American control.
The Shiite leaders also called, in speeches and in interviews after the meeting, for a rapid return to the American-led negotiations on Iraq's political future. The negotiations have been sidelined for weeks by the upsurge in violence associated with Mr. Sadr's uprising across central and southern Iraq and the simultaneous fighting in Falluja, the Sunni Muslim city west of Baghdad.
On Tuesday, the Shiite leaders, including a representative of a Shiite clerical group that has close ties to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, effectively did what the Americans have urged them to do since Mr. Sadr, a 31-year-old firebrand, began his attacks in April: they tied Iraq's future, and that of Shiites in particular, to a renunciation of violence and a return to negotiations.