Radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr "will" disband his Mahdi militia if ordered to do so by higher-ranking clerics, an aide said Monday. He said Sadr representatives would consult with revered Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and with Iranian clerics on the matter. The revelation came after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, also a Shiite, warned Sadr to disband the force or be barred from "the political process." Sadrists have said the prime minister lacks the power to interfere in elections.
Justices of Zimbabwe's High Court shrugged off rising political tensions and delayed until Tuesday a decision on whether to order the release of the March 29 presidential election results. With his bid to force the release temporarily thwarted, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai appealed to the International Monetary Fund to withhold further aid to Zimbabwe unless hard-line President Robert Mugabe "accepts the election results in full and hands over the reins of power." Mugabe, for his part, began campaigning for an anticipated runoff against Tsvangirai, which would have to be held three weeks after the results are announced.